Six Nations - Johnson unruffled by Lievremont outburst

Mon, 21 Feb 17:47:00 2011

Martin Johnson has suggested Marc Lievremont's anti-English outburst betrayed a fear that England could wreck France's Six Nations title challenge at Twickenham.

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Lievremont's lit the blue touch-paper ahead of Saturday's pivotal showdown with an outburst in which he branded Johnson's team as the most-hated in the championship.

But in the same breath, the France coach added that England are "already in World Cup mode" with players "physically on a different level" to his own.

Johnson said: "I don't know about fear, maybe there is a little bit of that there. If I read Marc's quotes correctly they respect us as a team.

"They have said from the outset that if they win here they will win the championship.

"We have been through one of these big build-ups already for the Wales game. That was a big challenge for us as a team and some of our individuals. I thought we handled it well. We are used to it. It is what we want.

"These big games are what we work for. There will be pressure, there will be quotes used by the media to generate the hype.

"There is enough history in this game and in the history of the two countries to spice it up.

"I quite enjoy it. Everyone wants to get there. Everyone here wants us to win. It may not be the case around the rest of Europe, but that doesn't matter.

"People like to beat England. There is history involved with that and most of it is not rugby history."

PA Sport

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