England v France, Six Nations, February 23
Dusautoir primed for 'career-defining' clash
ESPN Staff
February 22, 2013
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre talks to his side, France training session, Twickenham, England, February 22, 2013
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre and his side plot England's downfall during their Captain's Run at Twickenham © Getty Images

France captain Thierry Dusautoir has thrown the gauntlet down to his under-fire side ahead of what he believes could be a career-defining Six Nations showdown against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The pre-tournament favourites have suffered their worst start to a Championship for 31 years with a shock defeat to Italy and another reverse at the hands of Wales leaving them bottom of the table. In a bid to stop the rot, France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made seven changes and a positional switch for their latest outing but history is against them with Les Bleus having only notched three victories at English rugby's HQ since 1985.

But Dusautoir, whose side are notorious for their ability to conjure form out of nowhere, is excited by the challenge that lies ahead. "I want us to play with freedom, with a lack of pressure," he said. "We have a healthy fear. I'm not really speaking of fear, more excitement.

"Twickenham is a temple of rugby. Very few French players know what it's like to win here. It would be great to join that group. We've always had the ability to raise our game for 'Le Crunch'. This is a match that can define your career.

"I have complete confidence in this team. I hope to be talking tomorrow about why the French team is a paradox. The most important thing is that we expect to win tomorrow. The most important pressure is the pressure that we can put on our shoulders. We are going to pay attention to our team, to about what we have prepared for this game and that will be enough."

France have been the subject of widespread criticism for not only their results but the manner of their defeats but Dusautoir remains focused. "I think the most important thing is we expect, we expect to win tomorrow," he said. "The most important pressure is the pressure we put on our shoulders."

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