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Scott Spedding warns Ireland, French best is yet to come

By Cian Tracey

France full-back Scott Spedding has warned Ireland that his side are yet to peak at the World Cup and that their 11-day turnaround will be crucial ahead of this weekend's pool-deciding clash.

South African-born Spedding, who was in the same year at school in Johannesburg with Tour de France winner Chris Froome, only became French-qualified last year and he insisted that the best is yet to come from his side.

"There's always room for improvement. We know that we haven't played our best rugby yet and maybe that's a good thing because we don't want to peak too early in the competition either," Spedding said.

"Hopefully our big game is still to come and when we click it will be against Ireland.

"It is a massive step up for us. Ireland have shown that by winning the Six Nations numerous times.

"They have recently been number two in the world - they're a quality side. It's definitely going to be a massive step up.

"If we want to compete in that game, we're going to have to lift our game (from the Canada performance) massively."

The prize at stake for the winners is likely to be a quarter-final meeting with Argentina as opposed to facing the All Blacks.

France will have had 11 days to prepare for the crucial meeting with Ireland, who in comparison will have had seven.

Spedding knows the importance of those extra four days but he admitted that Ireland pose a serious threat to his side's chances of emerging as Pool D winners.

"It's important. This competition takes a lot out of you. There's a lot of pressure in every game and it's draining," he maintained.

"After our first game, we had a four-day turnaround and now we have a bit of time to prepare for this one so I think it will be good to take stock again and sort the bodies out because Ireland is going to be a massive challenge for us.

"There's no revenge (for the Six Nations defeat earlier this year) or anything involved. To win a pool in the World Cup, that's enough motivation in itself.

"We are under no illusions that this is going to be a tough game. They're a quality side with quality players. You always want to be testing yourself against the best players in the world.

"Jonathan Sexton controls the game very well for them.

"They've got a lot of class players all around the pitch. They always seem to just take the game by the scruff of the neck.

"They have a big forward pack, a 10 who controls the game and knows when to run and when to kick.

"They've some class outside backs too so they're a very complete team.

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre has never beaten Ireland in any of his previous four attempts and he also sent out a warning message to Ireland.

He said: "I think we can compete against anybody.

"We are not scared at all to play Ireland next Sunday, not at all."

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