Six Nations: France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre plays down chances in England

Last Updated: 21/02/13 3:20pm

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Philippe Saint-Andre knows France will have to improve in England

Philippe Saint-Andre knows France will have to improve in England

Sky Bet

France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre welcomes the tag of 'underdogs' as he prepares his side for Saturday's clash with England at Twickenham.

Les Bleus have endured a woeful start to their Six Nations campaign with defeats in Italy and at home to Wales, and Saint-Andre accepts that England's Grand Slam hunters are a force to be reckoned with.

"The English will start favourites," said former France wing Saint-Andre. "We will have to show all our qualities of being French on Saturday - that means being brave, daring, unpredictable and to take the fight to them.

"When we are able to do that, we are able to pose problems for any team in the world.

"To be honest, it's always a good thing when we French have our backs to the wall. That forces us to regroup and to better prepare individually for what will be a bruising contest.

"Often, the French rugby team has proved to be better when labelled as outsiders rather than favourites."

Saint-Andre has made no less than seven changes to the side that fell to a devastating 16-6 defeat to Wales in Paris two weeks ago, calling in the likes of Castres lock Christophe Samson for only his second cap.

"After two defeats in the tournament, we wanted competition and freshness in the squad," Saint-Andre added. "We have to have the freshness and enthusiasm. We will be prepared to fight a lot in Twickenham.

"We wanted to strengthen our lineout, and we know all about the quality of Christophe's movement.

"The English are a very big team. We saw, particularly against Ireland, that they stole a lot of ball. So we decided to go with a little more size, with Samson in the second row."

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