France look to follow England's World Cup example

France defence coach Dave Ellis believes replicating England's 2007 experiences can see Les Bleus advance to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals at their rivals' expense this Saturday.

France qualified for the quarter-finals in unconvincing fashion as Pool A runners-up to New Zealand and lost 19-14 to Tonga last weekend, while England won all four group games to top Pool B.

England similarly struggled in the 2007 World Cup, losing 36-0 to South Africa in their opening game before progressing to the final, beating France on the way.

Four years ago England's players seized more control and now Les Bleus' senior squad members have done the same, while retaining confidence in head coach Marc Lievremont.

Ellis said: "The players have done that, they've taken the lead.

"They haven't taken anything out of the hands of the coaches, they've just taken more responsibility for their actions, the non-existent actions of last week and the future actions of this coming weekend."

Asked if he expects a completely different France team to turn up at Eden Park on Saturday, Ellis was unequivocal.

He said: "This week a lot of the players have stood up and taken responsibility for their actions. They're going to give their response at the weekend.

"I think there will be a major performance from the big players that need to step up and I think they will step up.

"The old phrase of a week's a long time in rugby is very evident for the French team.

"They are quite capable of having an off day and then going from basement to penthouse in seven days."

While satisfied with the defensive display, Ellis described the loss to Tonga as the worst in his 10-year spell with Les Bleus.

Ellis, who has also worked as Gloucester and London Irish defence coach, added: "A lot of French people say to me the Anglo-Saxons rely on consistency.

"I think the French rely a little bit on inconsistency. They embrace the challenge and there's a big challenge.

"You've got to put some of the memories of the first four games behind, get on with the job in hand and hopefully qualify for the semi-final of the World Cup and the enemy's right on front of you.

"There's no greater motivation than that."

In the past, France have plucked stunning performances out of adversity.

Ellis added: "The history's there. History for the French is a very important thing.

"I'm certain it's in the back of the players' minds that they can do it this weekend.

"Everybody expects that (a backlash). The mood in the camp's very good."

Ellis backed Lievremont and insisted the disharmony in the squad was a result of mis-communication.

He said: "On Sunday we all got together, had a good afternoon together and since then it's been very good.

"It's just certain things being mentioned in the press being taken out of context, that's all."

England have had their own share of off-field difficulties, but Ellis played down their problems too.

He added: "Once again I think there's been a couple of incidents there blown out of all proportion.

"I know most of the English boys very well and I think they're a bit surprised by it all as well.

"I don't think there's anything wrong with England - I think I'd be quite happy playing the first four pool games and winning four.

"It's all about winning, that's all. I saw interviews with some of the players - Alex Corbisiero, who I coached at London Irish, and Mark Cueto - their responses were perfect.

"They've conceded one try, they've won four games, they topped the group.

"They haven't shown a great deal yet in the games that they've won but they've been winning games.

"We took note of that in 2010 when we played them at the Stade de France to win the Grand Slam.

"We won by playing ugly and it's something we've taken from England."

France were beaten by England in the 2003 and 2007 tournaments at the semi-final stage.

Ellis insisted those results are not part of Les Bleus' motivation for Saturday.

He added: "When the French play against England revenge doesn't come into it a great deal.

"There's enough there in the mix anyway, a game between England and France without throwing any more ingredients in there."


Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Morrissey pictured in 2013
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Robyn Lawley
i100  ... he was into holy war way before it was on trend
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmThe film is surprisingly witty, but could do with taking itself more seriously, says Geoffrey Macnab
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In my grandfather's First World War footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during the war. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end