FRANCE COACH Marc Lièvremont has denied claims his team will resort to using foul play in tonight’s Rugby World Cup final against the All Blacks at Eden Park.
Friday's edition of the New Zealand Herald carried a full page dedicated to examples of French brutality test matches dating back over 30 years.
In his column under the headline ‘Beware the filth of the French,’ former All Blacks forward Wayne Shelford says Richie McCaw and co. need to beware of French skulduggery and eye-gouging.
“They have resorted to some filth in past World Cups, including eye gouging,” wrote Shelford.
“They certainly did it in 1999, and there was probably a bit going on in 2007 as well.”
However, Lièvremont yesterday hit back at allegations that his side could resort to using the same tactics for the 2011 tournament decider.
“I think the French team is one of the most, if not the most, disciplined teams in the competition, and one of our aims here is to remain disciplined for this match,” he says.
“At no point, on or off the pitch, have we been guilty of any actions of this nature. I do not think it is possible to criticise the players, they have been very respectful.”
Prop Nicolas Mas agreed with his coach’s sentiments, believing the negative press is an attempt by the New Zealand media is an attempt to put France off its game.
The Herald's story entitled 'A History of Gallic Rugby' listed further examples of eye-gouging and punching from French internationals dating back to 1977.
“I think they're trying to put us under pressure. But the All Blacks are no angels, either. The Australians all came off with bloody noses,” he says.
“I don't think I have dangerous antecedents. I have never been shown the red card ... although there's still Sunday.”« Back to Archives
This weekend throws up another set of games which could go either way.
Which player was unlucky not to make the Wallabies’ preliminary squad for the British and Irish Lions series?