posted on Mar, 27 2004 @ 06:01 AM
France's overwhelming victory
against the Scots last weekend means that they are now the red-hot favourites to win this year's Six Nations and with it a Grand Slam which they have
craved for several years now.With England under performing in this season's tournament, Les Bleus have never had a better chance to stamp their
authority on northern hemisphere rugby and all eyes will be on the Stade de France on Saturday evening when these two giants of the rugby world
Mike Tindall has rallied England for their RBS Six Nations title showdown with France by declaring: "It's time we showed up."
England have an
outside chance of retaining the championship crown, but only if they win by at least seven points and stay ahead on overall try count against France.
An eight-point margin or more would render the try count irrelevant.Even then, Ireland could still tear up the script, although they would need
something like a clear 50-point win against Dublin visitors and wooden spoon favourites Scotland.
Just for once, world champions England are not in control of the situation, but there can be few complaints following a disappointing campaign that
saw Ireland defeat them at Twickenham,England's first home loss since 1999.France though, are on a roll, and with home advantage they should complete
the job and take the Six Nations title away from England's grasp.From their standpoint, England have proved consistently under Woodward that they
perform best when the pressure is really on. There will be no greater example of that if they can upset the formbook in Paris.
Bernard Laporte is not interested in avenging last year's World Cup defeat to England when the two sides meet again in Paris on Saturday.That 24-7
semi-final setback in Australia is history according to the coach of Les Bleus.Laporte claims he only wants to deal with the here and now.And right
now, things are looking very good for France as they chase the RBS Six Nations Grand Slam after wins over Italy, Ireland, Wales and Scotland.
[Edited on 27/3/04 by TRD]