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French happy to be in England
Slough
October 26, 1999

French captain Raphael Ibanez (pictured) believes that being away from home has been a vital factor in France's change of fortune in the World Cup.
Booed during the pool games, attacked in the press, and jeered at training sessions at home, they seem a much more relaxed group since they arrived first in Dublin and now London.
They were a transformed side against Argentina, running in five tries and playing with a confidence that had deserted them for much of the year.
After arriving at their new base near London Ibanez said: "Maybe we changed when we came away; maybe the players feel more free out of France."
"We'll stay in London for the week. We've been in France since the beginning of the World Cup. Now we are happy to stay in the United Kingdom and prepare for the semi-final," added coach Jean Claude Skrela
For Ibanez, his side's performance and progress to the last four was particularly special after he was singled out for criticism by fans in all of France's group games on home soil.
"But the important thing is that are in the last stages of the World Cup now, on the last steps. We're in the semi-finals and I am very pleased for the boys."

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