France centre Yannick Jauzion has urged his team-mates to maintain their focus ahead of Friday night’s game against Wales as they bid to continue their march to the RBS 6 Nations title.
After defeating Scotland 18-9 at Murrayfield in the opening round and claiming a 33-10 win in a highly-impressive display against 2009 Grand Slam winners Ireland last time out, Marc Lievremont’s troops are favourites for the title and are chasing a third successive win.
Despite their impressive run, Jauzion knows they will have to give an even more polished performance at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.
“The match against Ireland was full of solidarity and determination,” said the veteran centre. “But there are also quite a few things to look at again.
“We didn’t completely master the clash. But what was interesting is that we didn’t fold despite a difficult start.
“We knew how to step up our rhythm with regards to the Scotland game. We took it up a notch but we will have to do that again against Wales because it will be even more difficult.
“What’s important is to work with continuity. It’s not enough to be good just one time.”
France are perfectly poised at the top of the table and victory would take them two points clear of England, who play Ireland the following day.
However, Wales are also heading into the match in buoyant mood following their 31-24 win over Scotland, which featured 17 unanswered points in the final four minutes.
France were defeated 29-12 on their last trip to Cardiff two years ago and Jauzion has warned his team against over-confidence.
“It’s certain that the victory over Ireland was a step forwards. We realised that it was a difficult match and that we had to apply ourselves.
“It’s important to win these type of matches but we shouldn’t get carried away.
“Everything is always back to zero. Unfortunately we have to still do a better match at Cardiff to win it.
“The Welsh know very well that we want to win at their stadium. I know that they will be ready.”
Jauzion will again line up with controversial central partner Mathieu Bastareaud, who is emerging as one of the revelations of the tournaments
But Lievremont has been forced into changes for the trip to Cardiff, with injury forcing prolific wing Vincent Clerc and indomitable flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo out of the Millennium Stadium encounter.
Bayonne’s Benjamin Fall replaced Clerc, but he also had to withdraw from the squad today after suffering an ankle injury in training and his place is taken by Julien Malzieu of Clermont Auvergne.
Malzieu’s experienced team-mate Julien Bonnaire takes over from Ouedraogo in the back row alongside captain Thierry Dusautoir and number eight Imanol Harinordoquy.
Stade Francais lock Pascal Pape also suffered an ankle injury in training and has been replaced by Bourgoin’s Julien Pierre with former Sale forward Sebastien Chabal coming on to the replacements bench.