France wary of Japan factor against Romania

France centre Wesley Fofana is back in the starting team

France centre Wesley Fofana says that he does not want his first appearance
in the Rugby World Cup to end in a shock loss to Romania similar to the way
Japan beat South Africa.

The Rugby World was was shocked on Saturday when Japan beat two time champions
South Africa in Brighton

Twenty-seven-year-old Fofana missed France’s first match in the world cup with
a groin injury but the Clermont star is back in the squad to face Romania.

While he admits that he knows little about his Pool D opponents for the game
at London’s Olympic stadium — long gone are the days when under the dictatorship
of Nicolae Ceaucescu they threatened to break up the monopoly of European rugby
powerhouses — he says Japan’s 34-32 win over the Springboks has been a wake
up call for every team.

The French know from bitter experience taking teams for granted can be costly.
They lost to Tonga in a pool game in 2011 and Romania caused a big upset in
a Test match in 1990 beating them 12-6, costing coach Jacques Fouroux his job.
It was an inauspicious test debut for present coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

“The Japanese result has shown everybody that no game is won in advance,”
Fofana told French radio. “Nobody gave the Japanese a hope in hell.”

Fofana is one of 13 changes made by Saint-Andre to his starting line-up against
Italy but the only one who is realistically in line to begin the final and potentially
table-topping clash with Six Nations champions Ireland in Cardiff on October
11.

However, Fofana echoed Saint-Andre’s mantra for the game that he did not want
to see individuals going for glory but a good all round team performance with
each player playing for the others.

“I would say the main objective is a team one not a personal one,”
he said.

“We will respect this team and and are eager to put together a superb
team performance.

“It is by performing well as a unit the individual qualities will come
to the surface.”

Fofana, who would have liked to have got a bit of game time against Italy but
accepted Saint-Andre’s decision to give him more time to rest, said the Romanians
had the propensity to niggle them and try to jolt them out of their rhythm.

“We are stronger than them but they have the ability to get under our
skin,” said Fofana.

“It is imperative that we play to the level expected of the favourites
for this match.

“We are stronger than them but they can get under our skin and knock us
off kilter.

“It is imperative we show that we are totally committed.”

Romania’s Welsh coach Lynn Howells has decided to field the most experienced
Romanian side ever to play at a World Cup.

Mihai Macovei leads a Romania starting XV with an average age of 29 years 134
days, has an overall total of 684 test appearances, 37 higher than the 647 appearances
of the team that started the 34-24 defeat by Scotland in the 2011 edition.

France

Brice Dulin; Sofiane Guitoune, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Noa Nakaitaci; Remi
Tales, Morgan Parra; Louis Picamoles, Fulgence Ouedraogo, Yannick Nyanga; Alexandre
Flanquart, Bernard Le Roux; Uini Atonio, Dimitri Szarzewski (capt), Vincent
Debaty

Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Eddy Ben Arous, Nicolas Mas, Yoann Maestri,
Damien Chouly, Rory Kockott, Frederic Michalak, Mathieu Bastareaud

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