New Zealand v France, Rugby World Cup, October 23, 2011
Lievremont dismisses 'filth' jibes
October 22, 2011
Marc Lievremont has dismissed New Zealand media speculation about his side's tactics © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has dismissed suggestions that his side will employ underhand tactics in Sunday's Rugby World Cup Final against New Zealand.
Kiwi media outlets have focused on some of the grimy details from French rugby's past in the build-up to the game, with former All Black skipper Buck Shelford leading the charge.
"The fact is, they have resorted to some filth in past World Cups, including eye gouging, and there were cameras around then. They certainly did it in 1999, and there was probably a bit going on in 2007 as well," he wrote in a column for the New Zealand Herald.
Lievremont's response was curt and to the point, in keeping with his dealings with the press during the tournament - his last as France boss.
"That is something I forgot to mention to my players and thanks for bringing it up," he said. "Seriously, I think the French team is one of the most disciplined in this competition and our goal is to remain disciplined for this match. I think at no point, on the pitch or off the pitch, have we been guilty of any actions of that nature. The players have been very respectful."
Meanwhile, France skipper Thierry Dusautoir - who was this week named on the shortlist for IRB World Player of the Year - sought to play down the importance of shackling his opposite, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw.
"There are 15 problems on the pitch tomorrow and not necessarily Richie McCaw," he said. "He is a legend in this sport and he has more than 100 caps for the All Blacks and he has captained them for six or seven years now. I have great respect for him but the list would go on and on if I had to mention all the players that I respect."
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