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(From Guardian Unlimited)
Dimitri Yachvili paused after being asked why France had a good record against New Zealand in the World Cup but a poor one against England. "Fear," he eventually replied. Against the All Blacks, he explained, it was a fear of playing against a great side, an emotion that could be challenged positively. When it came to England, the fear was of facing a team he described as France's bete noir ; a fear of failure.
France have been criticised here for the team they have picked to face the All Blacks in Saturday's group match between the sides at Eden Park. One commentator erroneously described it as a reserve 15 and claimed that spectators who had bought tickets for the encounter had been short-changed. There is a fear here about the danger France pose to New Zealand's single-minded ambition of winning the World Cup, not so much on Saturday but when the final is held next month. Never mind …