The French have avoided all forms of media in the build up to the World Cup final and will draw confidence from their recent successes against the All Blacks.
Most pundits haven’t given France a chance of beating the All Blacks this Sunday, with some even going as far to say that this French side is the worst to qualify for a final in the tournament’s history. France wing Vincent Clerc has responded by saying that the team has taken no notice of such statements, and that while they are underdogs there’s a healthy belief that they can achieve the improbable in knocking over the All Blacks.
‘I have not turned the TV on all week so I am not sure what is going on in the outside world,’ said Clerc. ‘We do not need motivation and we do not have to look at what others are doing. We are in our own bubble so it does not matter what the New Zealanders are doing in terms of their preparation.
‘We have not played the match yet. They are not world champions yet. I do not feel I am in the skin of a future loser, someone who can’t win. This is the World Cup final and we are not here by coincidence. You can put some of it down to chance but I don’t think it is coincidence.’
Clerc added that France’s victory in the 2007 World Cup quarter-final will be remembered as they prepare for this week’s challenge. The 2009 win against the All Blacks in Dunedin will also help the Tricolores to believe that they can best the All Blacks on New Zealand soil.
‘I think we are drawn to difficulty and I think it allows us to bring out the best in ourselves and it allows us to believe in the impossible.
‘We know we can destabilize the All Blacks and we can do some exceptional things. I experienced that in 2007 and we experienced it in Dunedin a few years ago so it is a great source of inspiration for us. I think all the French team has underperformed in respect to the All Blacks and they have gone on to improbable victories.’
The French winger added that the visitors cannot hope to rely on luck in this fixture. More than anything they will have to bring a combative attitude to the contest.
‘We will have to be committed and we will have to fight. We can’t fall into the trap of just doing any old thing. We have to be extremely lucid and we will have to make sure we manage the match, take the opportunities that are given.
‘They have weaknesses as well and we just have to make sure we just don’t do any old thing. We will have to put the heat on them and we will have to be extremely defensive in the way we were against the Welsh [in the semi-final].’