Tonga loss has spurred France on says Marc Lievremont

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The Independent Online

France head coach Marc Lievremont believes the loss to Tonga has sparked his team into action for tomorrow's Rugby World Cup quarter-final against England in Auckland.

Les Bleus lost 19-14 to Tonga in Wellington as they completed their Pool A campaign with two losses, but still advanced to the anticipated last-eight battle with England.



Suggestions of discontent within the camp have been downplayed this week after Lievremont and his squad held "a rather strong exchange on the night of the match and the next day" following the Tonga defeat.



And Les Bleus are optimistic of upsetting the perennial rivals.



Lievremont said: "In the past France has traditionally needed this kind of electroshock to give its best.



"The concentration and commitment has been bigger (in training) than in previous matches, that's for sure.



"It's also linked to the fact we lost our game, so that's fairly normal.



"I am certain that the team has prepared well, I am certain that in the past, a French team, a group of men, that was problematic has faced up to the responsibility and given their best.



"I have faith in my squad."



While England won all four of their group games, France muddled through, with wins over Japan and Canada and losses to New Zealand and Tonga.



"I think the English can also learn a lot from our performances so far," Lievremont added.



"We know, once again, that England will give their best against us.



"We have the greatest respect for this team."



Lievremont is set to be replaced as head coach following the tournament by Philippe Saint-Andre.



But the incumbent hopes to extend his time in charge beyond tomorrow's match at Eden Park.



He said: "I hope my squad gives me 15 days more of overtime."



Lievremont has been cultivating a moustache this week as a tribute to Les Bleus' English defence coach Dave Ellis.



The French media donned false moustaches today for the pre-match media conference.



Lievremont said: "I appreciate the show of solidarity towards my staff. Thank you very much."



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