Six Nations
Saint-Andre: England the 'main course'
ESPN Staff
January 22, 2014
France will hope for a big improvement from last year's Six Nations © Getty Images

France boss Philippe Saint-Andre has stoked the fire ahead of his side's opening Six Nations clash against England by describing Stuart Lancaster's side the 'main course'.

The French are hoping to bounce back from a 2013 Six Nations to forget after finishing last - and welcome England to Paris on February 1 to get this year's campaign underway. Rivalry between France and England - known across the channel as 'Les Rosbifs' - is heated on and off the rugby field and should provide a fascinating opening to the competition.

Following France into this year's competition is the statistic that the national team have won the Six Nations every season after a British & Irish Lions tour. But, while he is determined to spoil England's Grand Slam ambitions on home soil, Saint-Andre has stopped short of declaring his side favourites - but he admits he is confident this year's squad can banish the demons of 2013.

"We don't start with a starter: we start with the main course, Les Rosbifs straight away," Saint-Andre said.

"When you finish bottom in 2013 it's difficult to say you are favourites in 2014, Wales and England are still the favourites.

"Last year it was very painful because small details make the difference. I just believe in this squad, in these young players.

"I am sure this team will be much more competitive than last year. I hope that statistic about the Lions tour can be right again, but we cannot expect after our performance last year.

"When the Lions finish late, in July, it is unusual for them and they play more games. But playing 40 games a year is nothing new for our players."

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