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Rugby World Cup

France to play against Ireland in a bid to avoid Rugby champions All Blacks

French team coach Philippe Saint-Andre goes for Ireland scalp Sunday
French team coach Philippe Saint-Andre goes for Ireland scalp Sunday Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
2 min

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre is bidding to beat bogey team Ireland for the first time in his tenure this Sunday and to top World Cup Pool D, avoiding the champion All Blacks in the quarter-finals.

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France plays Ireland at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium Sunday, with Saint-Andre hoping to force his many critics to rewrite their appraisal of him. France and Ireland are desperate to avoid coming second, which would mean a date with the All Blacks next weekend.

A first win in five meetings against the Six Nations champions   the first two were draws with the Irish winning the last two   would go a long way to rehabilitating the former French captain's reputation.

"The two victories were very close so I hope that ... we have the weapons to win the game," said France's current captain Thierry Dusautoir, star of France's 2007 World Cup victory over the All Blacks where his 38 tackles were two more than their opponents' entire total.

"Statistics talk of the past and past matches don't really interest us,” added Dusautoir. “There are some tactical things we can take from them but we don't dwell on the results. The pressure is increasing as the kick-off approaches, but we're just thinking about being as efficient as possible as soon as it starts."

For Japan's "Brave Blossoms", the game is up as far as the last eight is concerned.

Scotland's thrilling 36-33 win over Samoa on Saturday saw to that as it secured second place in Pool B. But former Wallabies coach Jones wants to end his reign on a winning note against the United States at Gloucester's Kingsholm Stadium.

"Business as usual," Jones said after the Scotland game. "Our task is to go and beat USA and be the first team (to win three games) to not qualify for the quarter-finals.

"We've had a fantastic World Cup so the players are focused and will complete the job."

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