Serge Betsen thinks the France forwards can overpower England and urged Les Bleus to follow Scotland’s example when they face the Six Nations champions in Paris.
Scotland shattered England’s Grand Slam bid with a first win over their fierce rivals for a decade at Murrayfield last weekend.
France got up and running with a victory over Italy following back-to-back defeats to Ireland and Scotland.
England are strong favourites to get back on track at Stade de France on March 10, but Betsen said it is by no means a certainty that the holders will come out on top.
The former France flanker told Omnisport: “I believe the pride we have showed at times during the tournament gives us hope. I think England are the best team in Europe but it is down to us to show we can give them a challenge.
“It is going to be a difficult game for sure, but I am not going to say that England will win in Paris. They did that last time they came and beat us last year, but France should have won that game.
“England showed last year against France that they can play really badly and win the game.
“I hope it will be one of the best ever Six Nations games, like four years ago when France beat England to end their chances of winning a Grand Slam.”
Betsen stressed the importance of France keeping their discipline in the heat of the battle.
“You need to phase them with physicality, try and force them back and don’t be weak in the sense of giving them a lot of penalties because Owen Farrell and George Ford will make the most of that,” he added.
“I am not worried about the battle of the forwards, I think we can definitely compete with them in the front row.
“The front five are amazing, they are really skilful in working and stealing the ball in the ruck, we can challenge them in the front five but in the backs we have problems with the number 10s being injured. It will be in the midfield which will be difficult for us.”
Betsen was among the former internationals competing in the Tournoi des 6 Stations Orangina [The 6 Stations Tournament] on the snow in the French Alps from February 12-18. For more information on the event visit http://tournoides6stations.com/en/
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