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Dublin: 6 °C Thursday 26 April, 2018

England are 'our best enemies' say French ahead of Paris clash

Philippe Saint-Andre’s side are gearing up for the showdown at the Stade de France.

FRANCE ARE GEARING up for a crucial match against England as they prepare to host their long-standing rivals in the Six Nations on Sunday.

Les Bleus coach Philippe Saint-Andre has dropped Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc for the encounter at Stade de France. The experienced halves pairing will be replaced by scrum-half Julien Dupuy and fly-half Lionel Beauxis.

Dupuy will play only his seventh game for France, while Beauxis will be involved for the 16th time.

“I’ve experienced some difficult times, things have been a bit rocky in my club,” Dupuy said.  ”So one must enjoy that kind of moment because they can be very short.

“No one is permanent in the French team, and I know what I’m talking about. So I must enjoy it now.

“Especially that now, I’m 28-years-old so I’m not finished but I’m closer to the end than from the beginning of my career.”

France are currently second on the Six Nations ladder, a point ahead of third-placed England. Saint-Andre’s side need another victory to stay in touch with competition-leaders Wales, who they will face on March 17.

“There is always this special flavour with our best enemies,” centre Aurelien Rougerie said ahead of the game against England. ”We are used to call this game ‘the crunch’.

“I hope the game will be up to its promises on Sunday.” France drew with Ireland 17-17 last weekend, while England’s last match was the 19-12 loss to the Welsh. Territory will be the key for France, according to incoming fly-half Beauxis.

“The priority will be to best occupy the pitch,” Beauxis said.  ”But that doesn’t mean that if I see an opportunity, I won’t try something.  So we will try to be very clean in our game, to get out of our half of the pitch and put the pressure on the English.”

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