French not too relaxed ahead of rugby semi

Updated: 2011-10-11 14:00


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AUCKLAND - As tensions crank up ahead of this weekend's rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales, the enigmatic French team say they are staying relaxed - but not too relaxed.

Like the proverbial girl with a curl, when France are good they are very, very good, but when they are bad they are horrid.

Marc Lievremont on Tuesday picked for the semi-final the same 22 players who lost to Tonga, but then beat England in the quarter-finals.

Everyone in the French camp knows which France must turn up at Eden Park on Saturday.

"I've said it before, this team must write their own history," Lievremont told reporters in Auckland. "We must move forward. The risk is not to be able to put that (England) game behind us.

"The risk is to spend the week being congratulated ... to believe we are such great players."

The French are notorious for following up a great performance with a weak one, and know they must not allow that to happen this time if they are to reach the final.

"We're still at risk from our old demons," Aurelien Rougerie told reporters. "We're relaxed, but not too much.

"It is a great challenge for Maxime (Mermoz) and me in the midfield. Wales play a simple game and with great fluidity and movement among their backs.

"South Africa showed a lot of aggression against them, so perhaps we will try and match this."

Maxime Medard summed up the situation perfectly: "We've got more chance of winning if we show the same spirit as we did against England."