Malzieu urges France to go on offensive

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The Independent Online

The France wing Julien Malzieu has urged his team-mates to attack from the off against Italy in Paris tomorrow, insisting Les Bleus "do not have the right" to lose their penultimate Six Nations game.

Marc Lièvremont's side remain on course for the Grand Slam after defeating Scotland, Ireland and Wales in their opening three matches, but while their final game of the tournament against England has been billed as a mouthwatering tournament decider, Malzieu says losing to the Azzurri must be considered out of the question. "In general, everything happens in the first 20 minutes against them," he said. "We know that we will have to impose our rhythm and be more aggressive than them.

"They attack strongly? Very good, it's up to us to attack even stronger, to show that we are at home, that whatever they do, it will not come off. We will be at home and we don't have the right to lose."

Despite Italy's 16-12 win over the Scots a fortnight ago France remain overwhelming favourites, although Malzieu has warned against complacency on home turf. "We need to win it, and in style if possible. But it will be very difficulty because the Italians are aggressive. It's up to us to prepare for that and above all to apply ourselves to keeping the ball.

"We have to succeed in disorganising them. After some time they will have difficulty in getting back and that will open up spaces for us. They are still lacking positioning in their organisation. We know it."

France v Italy, tomorrow at Stade de France (kick-off 2.30pm, BBC2):


C Poitrenaud (Toulouse); M Andreu (Castres), D Marty (Perpignan), Y Jauzion (Toulouse), A Palisson (Brive); F Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), M Parra; T Domingo (both Clermont Auvergne), W Servat (Toulouse), N Mas (Perpignan), L Nallet (Racing Métro), J Pierre (Clermont Auvergne), T Dusautoir (Toulouse, captain), J Bonnaire (C Auvergne), I Harinordoquy (Biarritz). Replacements: D Szarzewski (Stade Français), J-B Poux (Toulouse), S Chabal (R Métro), A Lapandry (C Auvergne), D Yachvili (Biarritz), M Bastareaud (Stade), J Malzieu (Clermont Auvergne).


L McLean (Benetton Treviso); A Masi (Racing Métro), G Canale (Clermont), G Garcia (Treviso), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Français); C Gower (Bayonne), T Tebaldi (Parma); S Perugini (Bayonne), L Ghiraldini (Treviso), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester), Q Geldenhuys (Viadana), M Bortolami (Gloucester), J Sole (Viadana), Mauro Bergamasco (Stade Français), A Zanni (Treviso). Replacements: F Ongaro (Saracens), M Aguero (Saracens), C Antonio Del Fava (Viadana), P Derbyshire (Padova), P Canavosio (Viadana), R Bocchino (Rovigo), K Robertson (Viadana).

Referee: A Lewis (Ireland).