Six Nations
Palmer stokes fire for French clash
ESPNscrum Staff
February 19, 2011
England lock Tom Palmer, Wales v England, Six Nations, Millennium Stadium, Cardiff, Wales, February 4, 2011
Tom Palmer has stoked the fires for England's clash with France © Getty Images

England lock Tom Palmer has stoked the fire prior to their make-or-break Six Nations clash with France at Twickenham on February 26, insisting that Les Bleus will be desperate to win because "everyone hates the English".

The game has been hyped as a possible Championship decider by many following the teams' unbeaten start to the campaign and Palmer has resorted to the wind-up tactics of old.

England, who are chasing a first title since 2003, romped to victory over Italy last weekend to back up a solid showing against Wales in Cardiff, while France opened their account in impressive fashion against Scotland before edging out a profligate Ireland in Dublin.

Palmer, who plys his trade in the Top 14 with Stade Francais, is expecting a fired-up French effort.

"Everyone hates the English," he told the BBC. "Everyone raises their game when we come up against them. England are essentially the biggest union in the world and it's always good to beat the big boys, isn't it?

"It is the same when we go to Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, even the Australians and Kiwis don't like us. That's just the way it is really, it's all part of our colonial history and our empire.

"It will be a tough challenge. They will try and dominate you up front, in the line-out and in the mauls and they are very dangerous off turnover ball.

"We have to match them and impose ourselves in the forward game and not give them any opportunities to counter-attack, so no sloppy passes, no turnovers, no poor kicks. That is where they are so dangerous.

"I think we've got guys who can hurt the French. Look at the way James Haskell played in the second half against Italy, with all those carries. If he can bring some of that into the French game, he will cause some problems."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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