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Rugby World Cup
France set their sights on World Cup glory
ESPNscrum Staff
July 6, 2011

France captain Thierry Dusautoir has backed his side to make a major impression on this year's Rugby World Cup.

Beaten finalists in 1987 and 1999, Dusautoir believes his side can upset the odds and go one better when the sport's showpiece event kicks off in New Zealand in September.

"This is the goal. We are going there to get stuck into this competition, not to go sight-seeing," a bullish Dusautoir told a press conference at the team's training base in Marcoussis on Tuesday. "If we give the best of ourselves from beginning to end, we can seriously think about that title of world champion."

The 29-year-old flanker crossed for a crucial try as France upset favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals of the 2007 World Cup and he is relishing another match up with the All Blacks who they face in a Pool A showdown at Eden Park on September 24.

"To play a World Cup is in itself a special event for any rugby player, this is no small matter. We have worked for four years to play this competition," he told AFP. "But it's true that there is something a little bit extra special about playing it in New Zealand; it is the most legendary team in the world. Anyone who can turn up and win in New Zealand will truly go down in history."

Playing the world's No.1 ranked team on their own patch holds little fear for Dusautoir who led his side to an impressive 27-22 victory over the All Blacks in Wellington in 2009.

"For France, it would make a double. We beat New Zealand two years ago," he explained. "This means that it is possible and that we can do it. When you start the competition, you have to remember that."

The World Cup represents the next stage of a year that has already seen Dusautoir claim the Top 14 with his club side Toulouse and while admitting that the season has taken a toll he believes his squad will be in great shape come the World Cup.

"We will have the opportunity to stay together for two months of preparation and two months of competition," he said. "You can work physically, technically and tactically, it's good. It is now a team in the most important sense of the word.

"We get to know each other, the defects, the qualities, the soft spots. It is very important in the human sense. This time together allows us to do that. We have a very demanding preparation. It allows you to invest 100 percent when we are given tough sessions. It is a set-up designed to ensure we are at our best during the World Cup."

France will warm up for the World Cup with back-to-back Test matches against Ireland before kicking off their campaign against Japan on September 10.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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