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RugbyU: French can beat 'best team' in Six Nations

France can round off their Six Nations campaign with victory over 'the best team' in the tournament, Ireland, at the Stade de France on Saturday, said their captain Pascal Pape on Friday. The 33-year-old lock, who will win his 54th cap against the Irish, has, like his team-mates and coaching staff, been slammed by the media and former players despite three wins in their four matches this season, more than they achieved in the whole of last year in 11 Tests.

RugbyU: Pape wary of Italy challenge

France captain Pascal Pape warned on Saturday that victory should not be taken for granted agaisnt Italy in their Six Nations match on Sunday adding the Italians were a top class outfit. The 33-year-old lock -- who is captaining France in the absence of the injured Thierry Dusautoir -- said it was also important for France to build on their thrilling 26-24 opening win over England last Saturday. "We know the Italy team has loads of experience, is physically very strong, with a lot of rugby under their belts," said Pape, who will win his 51st cap.

RugbyU: Pape promises 'super-motivated' France against England

France captain Pascal Pape has insisted they will face England in their Six Nations opener in Paris on Saturday with no scars from last season's disastrous campaign. For France, 2013 was one of the worst years in their recent history with 'Les Bleus' finishing bottom of the table in Europe's major international rugby union championship for the first time since Italy became the 'sixth nation' in 2000. But Pape, speaking on the eve of the Stade de France showdown, said a France side coached by former Test captain Philippe Saint-Andre were over the worst.

RugbyU: France Six Nations hopes hit by Dusautoir blow

France's hopes of a successful Six Nations tournament suffered a major blow on Sunday as it was announced by his Top 14 club Toulouse that captain Thierry Dusautoir had been ruled out of the tournament. The 32-year-old flanker -- capped 65 times and world player of the year in 2011 -- will be out for four months after he tore a tendon in his right biceps, Toulouse head coach Guy Noves told AFP. France finished bottom of the Six Nations last year and start their campaign this term at home to England in a fortnight.

RugbyU: France Six Nations hopes hit by Dusautoir blow

France's hopes of a successful Six Nations tournament suffered a major blow on Sunday as it was announced by his Top 14 club Toulouse that captain Thierry Dusautoir had been ruled out of the tournament. The 32-year-old flanker -- capped 65 times and world player of the year in 2011 -- will be out for four months after he tore a tendon in his right biceps, Toulouse head coach Guy Noves told AFP. France finished bottom of the Six Nations last year and start their campaign this term at home to England in a fortnight.

RugbyU: France skipper Dusautoir out of Six Nations

France's hopes of a successful Six Nations tournament suffered a major blow on Sunday as it was announced by his Top 14 club Toulouse that captain Thierry Dusautoir had been ruled out of the tournament. The 32-year-old flanker -- capped 65 times and world player of the year in 2011 -- will be out for four months after he tore a tendon in his right biceps, Toulouse head coach Guy Noves told AFP. France finished bottom of the Six Nations last year. gr-sva/ig/pi/nr

RugbyU: Connacht lead Irish provinces in European Cup wins

Perennial underachievers Connacht claimed their most famous scalp in leading their three rival Irish provincial sides to wins in European Cup action on the weekend. The unfashionable Galway-based side, coached by ex-Samoan flanker Pat Lam, produced the result of a scintillating three days of rugby, holding on for a 16-14 win over four-time champions Toulouse. It bucked a losing run of 10 successive matches, Connacht's previous win of the season coming over Italian side Zebre in their opening European Cup pool game.

RugbyU: France v South Africa teams

Teams for the one-off international test match between France and South Africa at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday (kick-off 2000GMT): Teams (15-1) France Brice Dulin; Sofiane Guitoune, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, Yoann Huget; Rémi Talès, Morgan Parra; Damien Chouly, Wenceslas Lauret, Thierry Dusautoir (capt); Yoann Maestri, Pascal Papé; Nicolas Mas, Benjamin Kayser, Yannick Forestier

RugbyU: France v South Africa teams

Teams for the one-off international test match between France and South Africa at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday: Teams (15-1) France Brice Dulin; Sofiane Guitoune, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, Yoann Huget; Rémi Talès, Morgan Parra; Damien Chouly, Wenceslas Lauret, Thierry Dusautoir (capt); Yoann Maestri, Pascal Papé; Nicolas Mas, Benjamin Kayser, Yannick Forestier Replacements: Dimitri Szarzewski, Thomas Domingo, Rabah Slimani, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Yannick Nyanga, Jean-Marc Doussain, Frédéric Michalak, Mathieu Bastareaud

RugbyU: France aiming to rid bitter taste of defeat

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has vowed to set his side on the road to victory and rid them of the bitter taste of defeat when they host Tonga in Le Havre on Saturday. It has been a miserable 2013 for France with just one victory in nine matches, alongside seven defeats, including four out of four against New Zealand. Their only victory this calendar year came in March when an unconvincing 23-16 success at home to Scotland couldn't prevent them from finishing with the wooden spoon.
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