Six Nations: French underdogs seek to fight back

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FRANCE coach Philippe Saint-Andre accepts his team head into tomorrow’s RBS Six Nations clash with England as underdogs, but believes that could work in their favour against Stuart Lancaster’s Grand Slam-chasing side.

Les Bleus travel to Twickenham having lost their opening two Five or Six Nations games for the first time since 1982.

Wales’ 16-6 success in Paris 12 days ago followed a 23-18 France loss in Italy six days previously, meaning the wooden spoon has now become a distinct possibility for the pre-tournament favourites.

But Saint-Andre reckons his players will relish the tag of outsiders. “The English will start favourites,” he said. “We will have to show all our qualities of being French on Saturday – that means being brave, daring, unpredictable and to take the fight to them.

“When we are able to do that, we are able to pose problems for any team in the world.

“To be honest, it’s always a good thing when we French have our backs to the wall. Often, the French rugby team has proved to be better when labelled as outsiders rather than favourites.” Saint-Andre has made seven changes to his starting line-up – most notably opting for a new half-back pairing, with Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc replacing Maxime Machenaud and Frederic Michalak following the Wales loss.