With England and France locking horns in Auckland this Saturday, Metro asked Kyran Bracken, part of the World Cup-winning squad of 2003, and former French captain Serge Betsen where the quarter-final will decided.
Serge Betsen: England have been our enemies and opponents in the last two World Cups and now again in 2011. This is a huge challenge for France and we have nothing to lose. We must come out of this game with no regrets. For some it is their first World Cup, for some maybe their last. They must give everything.
Kyran Bracken: No second chances, this is the knock-out stages. This is a brittle French team who look like they would rather be back home. For once England need to get out of the blocks early and start the game like we are finishing it.
Up Front Battle
SB: The line-out and scrum is where France have built victories over the last four years. We must put massive pressure on this area, England would then be left without the foundation on which their game plan stands.
KB: At the line-out, France will attempt to man-mark Tom Croft so let’s vary it. France will also target our scrum and here, we can’t afford to give away stupid penalties.
SB: Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvilli must alternate quick ball from scrum and line-out to ensure we recycle slow ball and increase the forwards’ speed around the ruck. We also need to attack the fly-half and Manu Tuilagi to destabilise England’s defensive line while paying special attention to Ben Youngs at scrum-half.
KB: Let’s get the ball in Tuilagi’s hands early and we can’t afford to wait until the last ten minutes to get the ball wide to Chris Ashton. We have the best back three in the world – let’s use them.
SB: Communication is the key. Our commitment, determination and structure will be all-important. We have to win our battles at ruck and maul.
KB: We know how dangerous the France backs can be if things go their way. Make no mistake-this French team can play. We know our patterns of play but we have to run at them hard!
SB: We must be extremely disciplined and respect the referee’s every decision because either Jonny Wilkinson, left, or Toby Flood are able to kick easy points – and Jonny has hurt us before in World Cups.
KB: England must be smart at the breakdown. These guys don’t normally give away stupid penalties at their clubs, so don’t do it here! Anyone giving away stupid pens should be expected to be taken off. No one wants to be the person responsible for sending your team mates home early with a mindless penalty.
Our strength will be in our togetherness. We cannot afford to have anyone out there who wants to play alone. We have to win our own individual and collective battles, be proud to be together as one and be completely disciplined. When things go wrong France will have to look deep inside themselves and be there for each other.
Let’s control the tempo of the game. Scrum-half Youngs needs to get us going with some quick taps early on. Let’s keep the pressure on and kick for the corners. We have to try and build a lead and see if we can break the French spirit early. This is it, one chance, one opportunity. grab it.
As posted in Metro referencing www.weare4rugby.com