CE coach Marc Lievremont insists he will be delighted to disappoint the purists if it means causing a major upset in Sunday’s World Cup final against New Zealand.
Les Bleus, the overwhelming underdogs, have won few admirers with their style of play in an improbable run to the tournament’s climax in Auckland.
But Lievremont, who has kept faith with the team that controversially beat Wales in last weekend’s semi-final as he prepares for his last match in charge, is unmoved.
“If we have to win it the same way we beat Wales, I will accept that with great pleasure,” he said.
“The problem with a lot of people is that they have serious holes in their memory. The history of French rugby, even if it displeases some people, has always been made of ups and downs. Some matches that were not good, some won through courage, like last week.”
Hooker William Servat, No8 Imanol Harinordoquy, scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and fly-half Morgan Parra are all injury doubts, but Lievremont has named them in his team.
Despite the odds, and losing to the All Blacks 37-17 in the pool stage, he is optimistic of denying the hosts their first World Cup since 1987.
“Every time we play the All Blacks it’s always the same – they are always the favourites,” he added. “I believe in our team and we can win.”