Jauzion gunning for ‘arrogant’ England

FRANCE centre Yannick Jauzion is determined to take his chance in today’s Six Nations showdown and put “arrogant” England in their place.

Jauzion, 32, has suffered from Marc Lievremont’s rotation policy and will make his first start of the campaign at Twickenham after being recalled at inside centre for a mouthwatering clash between the only remaining unbeaten teams in the competition.

“There is always a huge rivalry between us, especially this year because the English are at their best in all departments,” the Toulouse star said. “They are a little arrogant before and during matches and that is why we respect them. For me this is the chance to properly begin my Six Nations in very difficult circumstances. It is vital to seize a chance when it presents itself.

“I am focusing on what I can do for the team and bring to it. Of course I need to prove something, but without making it a one-man show.”

The war of words has been one-sided in the build-up, with France coach Lievremont branding the English the most disliked team in the championship. Lievremont’s comments were interpreted in the England camp as a back-handed compliment, a recognition by France that Martin Johnson’s men will provide the toughest test of their campaign.

France edged a narrow victory over Ireland in Dublin two weekends ago but Les Bleus captain Thierry Dusautoir admitted winning at Twickenham is the ul timate challenge. “This is the hardest match for us in the Six Nations, much harder than Ireland,” said the flanker.

Lievremont’s anti-English outburst earlier this week was accompanied by a smile and he is reading a book on Winston Churchill.

But the former France flanker has kept the barbs flying across the Channel all week, possibly as much to steel his own team for the battle ahead as anything else.

“England created this game of rugby and we never stop hearing that they did,” said Lievremont, before branding Johnson’s team as mechanical. “If we have a small complex, it will be gone after Saturday’s victory. I have been reading a biography of Winston Churchill but I left the book at home because, through him, I was starting to like the English.”

Johnson wants England to prey on France’s fragility on the road by turning Twickenham into a bearpit today. France boast world-beating potential but Johnson believes England can exact revenge for last year’s 12-10 defeat in Paris — and take a giant stride towards their first title since 2003 — by breaking their brittle confidence early.

Les Bleus have managed just one championship victory at Twickenham in their last six visits — by a single point in 2005 — and two years ago the French collapsed as England roared into a 29-0 half-time lead.

“Everyone says that you never know which French side will show up — but you can effect that with how you play,” Johnson said. “If you let them play they will look fantastic. If you get them under pressure it is harder for them. We are not coming here expecting them to be anything other than dangerous — but we can affect that.

“Our players have proved to themselves that if they play near their best they will be in a Test match with anyone.”

The idea of French teams being unpredictable is no myth. England lock Tom Palmer has witnessed it — and been bemused by it — since moving to play his club rugby at Stade Francais. And Mike Tindall, who will captain England for the third time in the continued absence of Lewis Moody, will hammer the message home just before kick-off.

“You don’t know which French side will turn up but you also know if they play as well as they can they are the world’s best,” Tindall said. “If you have a bad start they pick up momentum and can be very hard to stop.

“You have to get on top of them and contain them. If you give them nothing and really put them under pressure in that first 20 you can do that.”

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