Wales v France, Rugby World Cup, October 15, 2011
Lievremont wary of Wales
October 11, 2011
France coach Marc Lievremont has reminded his squad not to underestimate a resurgent Wales side © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has warned his squad not to "rest on their laurels" prior to Saturday's Rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales in Auckland.
Les Bleus go into Saturday's showdown knowing they have beaten Wales in each of their last three encounters, including a comfortable victory in this year's Six Nations, but Lievremont knows from first-hand experience the dangers of dwelling on past results.
The last of his 25 caps came in the 1999 World Cup final defeat to Australia, a week after France had shocked New Zealand at Twickenham in one of the most famous matches of all time.
"In the last three years we have managed to beat Wales, but if we start looking at it from that angle, it's a recipe for disaster," Lievremont said.
"The risk in rugby is always that you can rest on our laurels. [In 1999] we kept looking back to our victory in the semi-final and struggled to focus ahead of us on the final. Australia were programmed to win that final and they made us pay a heavy price.
"Getting to the semi-final is a very big deal and I'm very happy with the performance of my players. As you may have noticed after the last match, there was no extreme euphoria, the players began straight away focusing on the rest of the tournament. What we need now is to keep concentrated, to remain aggressive. Obviously we have to play a lot better."
France named an unchanged team for their 2007 semi-final, having just beaten New Zealand, which proved to be the wrong decision as England won a battle of attrition in Paris to reach the final.
"In 2007 it was different," Lievremont said. "The intensity was incredible against the All Blacks in the quarter-final. After talking about it with more senior players, there was also a certain loss of concentration following the euphoria. It is very difficult not to select the same team that proved itself. We are confident but we are not overly confident either."
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