Les Bleus avoiding complacency

France hooker William Servat has warned his team-mates against the danger of underestimating Wales ahead of tomorrow night’s RBS 6 Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.

France hooker William Servat has warned his team-mates against the danger of underestimating Wales ahead of tomorrow night’s RBS 6 Nations clash at the Millennium Stadium.

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.

Les Bleus are chasing a third successive win – something they have not achieved since 2007 – and Servat knows they cannot afford to take anything for granted.

“The keyword is concentration again,” he said.

“We have to realise above all that you always have to prepare for a rugby match, that nothing is done in advance and that we practise a sport where if you don’t have all the ingredients you can suddenly be swept aside.

“I’m aware that if we don’t make use of the same ingredients that we had against Ireland, we will lose hugely in Wales.

“In football individual talents can save a team, make huge differences. For us, it’s more difficult and above all, it’s a fighting sport.

“And if you’re not there in the fight, you lose the match.”

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.

Victory for France would take them two points clear of England, who play Ireland on Saturday, while it would also leave them firmly on course for the Grand Slam.

Les Bleus beat Wales in Cardiff in 2004 before going on to beat Scotland and England to take the Grand Slam and Servat is looking for a repeat result.

“The fortune that we have today is that we meet Ireland and England at home,” he added.

“This match against Wales is necessary, there is a big expectation, it will be very fierce and very difficult.

“In 2004 we won there, although for the moment we haven’t done anything.”

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.

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 onto the replacements bench.

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