Lievremont: 'We don't like the English'
February 21, 2011
France coach Marc Lievremont face a Six Nations showdown against England at Twickenham on Saturday © Getty Images
France coach Marc Lievremont has stoked the fires ahead of his side's Six Nations showdown with England by admitting - "We don't like the English".
Saturday's clash at Twickenham is set to be pivotal in this year's battle for northern hemisphere supremacy with both sides chasing the Grand Slam having recorded back-to-back victories in the opening rounds of this year's Championship.
And Lievremont has ensured the game will boast more than its usual edge by claiming the rest of the countries in the tournament are willing his side to beat the English and deny coach Martin Johnson his Grand Slam bid.
"We don't like them and it's better to say that than be hypocritical," Lievremont told reporters at his side's training base in Marcoussis. "We have a bit of trouble with the English. We respect them - well in my case at least I respect them. But you couldn't say we have the slightest thing in common with them.
"We appreciate our Italian cousins with whom we share the same quality of life. We appreciate the Celts and their conviviality and then among all these nations we have one huge thing in common. We all don't like the English."
Lievremont's comments echo those of England lock Tom Palmer who last week accepted his side were widely hated - a belief reinforced by the man looking to derail their Six Nations campaign this weekend.
"We beat Ireland yet left Dublin with the encouragement of all the Irish who said 'for pity's sake, beat the English'," added Lievremont. "With the Scots, it's the same thing. It is also what gives you strength against the English, more than just because of rugby."
Lievremont nevertheless regards England as a huge threat, saying that their players appear to be operating at a "different level". "This insular country, who always drape themselves in the national flag, their hymns, their chants, their traditions. They are people who one regards as a very proud people.
"But we are also very aware, in terms of planning and preparation, that the English are already in 2011 World Cup mode. We can feel that all of the English players are physically on a different level."
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