Marsh only French doubt

Centre Tony Marsh looks like being France’s only injury concern for Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Ireland in Melbourne.

Centre Tony Marsh looks like being France’s only injury concern for Sunday’s World Cup quarter-final clash with Ireland in Melbourne.

The Kiwi-born back has been struggling with the minor Achilles injury he picked up in the win over Scotland on October 25, although the 31-year-old is expected to be fit to face Eddie O’Sullivan’s men.

After fielding his entire second XV against the United States in France’s final pool game, coach Bernard Laporte is expected to confirm a huge number of changes tomorrow when he names his side to face Ireland.

The French camp all watched Saturday’s tense tussle between Ireland and Australia and were unanimously impressed by the efforts of the men in green.

However, after cruising through the group phase, confidence is high that Les Blues will book a semi-final slot against either England or Wales, with fly-half Frederic Michalak insisting the ease with which they qualified has not left them short of meaningful match practice.

“We have been tested,” said the mercurial stand-off.

“Japan gave us quite a hard time for a while and although they may not be of the same standard as Ireland, the tackles hurt just as much and you still have to look for room when people close you down.

“We have been together for two or three months now and there is a great collective spirit within the squad.

“We did well in our biggest pool match against Scotland and that is the type of form we are looking to take into the rest of the tournament.”

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