John Fletcher has complete faith in England Under-18s ahead of French test

Last Updated: 29/03/13 11:36am

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John Fletcher: Under no illusions

John Fletcher: Under no illusions

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England Under-18s coach John Fletcher is relishing Saturday's clash with France in the final of the Justin Bridou Championship.

A massive crowd is expected at the Stade des Alpes in Grenoble - with England set to face a partisan atmosphere for the showpiece to the Under-18s competition, which will be shown on Sky Sports.

And despite facing the prospect of attempting to silence the home fans, Fletcher has complete faith in his charges.

"Playing France in France is always going to be tough but this is what it all about," Fletcher told Sky Sports. "As a sportsman you want to be playing in these tough games.

"We are under no illusion how hard it will be. They are a good side, but then again so are we."

Live on Sky Sports

Saturday's clash between England Under-18s and their French counterparts will be shown via the Red Button on Sky Sports 1 from 4pm.

England have been in superb form during the competition so far. They opened up with an 82-8 rout of Portugal before overcoming old foes Scotland 25-12.

However, Fletcher insists his side will not be resting on their laurels against a France side that has beaten Italy and Ireland.


"None of the previous games will count for anything," he explained. "It is about who performs best on the day.

"We don't talk about who has done what in previous games, we just concentrate on us and what we can do."

England are the defending champions, having beaten Ireland in last year's final, while the Under-18s have carved out an impressive reputation under former Newcastle boss Fletcher.

However, Fletcher claims he is more interested in performances than wins.

"What we do at the start of the season is set the standard and then look to get better and better every time," he said.

"If we win it is obviously good, but that is not the important aspect for us. One, it is about getting the best players together to play the best opposition; and then it is playing in a way to develop the players.

"The key for me is not the number of games we can win, it is about how we've won. We've never been outscored - even in the one or two games we've lost, we've scores more tries - and we play a good style of expansive rugby."

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