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France have a 'healthy fear' of Twickenham

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Sportal.co.nz     23 Feb 2013     Getty Images

Abysmal defeats to Italy and Wales have seen Les Bleus endure their worst start to the championship since 1982 and they are heavy underdogs to fall before England's Grand Slam march.

The statistics make uncomfortable reading for the pre-tournament favourites, who have won just one of their last five away matches in the Six Nations and have triumphed just once at Twickenham since 1997.

The odds may be stacked against them, but captain Dusautoir believes their fortunes may be about to change.

"I want us to play with freedom, with a lack of pressure," the Toulouse flanker said.

"We have a healthy fear. I'm not really speaking of fear, more excitement.

"Twickenham is a temple of rugby. Very few French players know what it's like to win here.

"It would be great to join that group. We've always had the ability to raise our game for 'Le Crunch'. This is a match that can define your career.

"I have complete confidence in this team. I hope to be talking tomorrow about why the French team is a paradox.

"The most important thing is that we expect to win tomorrow. The most important pressure is the pressure that we can put on our shoulders.

"We are going to pay attention to our team, to about what we have prepared for this game and that will be enough."

France brushed aside England in the quarter-finals of the 2011 World Cup en route to an unlikely appearance in the final, but Dusautoir refuses to draw parallels.

"For sure I hope it will be the same result. But it's a new team, it's totally different, it's a young team," he said.

"Maybe at the World Cup we had more experience and we knew how difficult it was to be in this kind of situation.

"Maybe right now it's different, that's why we are focused on us and play the best rugby we can tomorrow.

"We have to be really, really good because the English team is very impressive."