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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 09:38 GMT
Sella tips French for Cup glory

France have the discpline and ability to win the World Cup, according to former international centre Philippe Sella.

The French were surprise finalists in 1999, overwhelming New Zealand in the semi-finals before losing to Australia in a one-sided match.

Philippe Sella during his playing days
Sella is confident France can keep their discipline

And Sella, the most capped player in rugby history with 111 apperances for France, believes they can go one better Down Under in 2003.

He told BBC Sport Online: "France have been notorious for a lack of discpline and consistency in the past. One game they win and the next they don't.

"But, under Bernard Laporte, they are working on their discipline and mental strength - the basics of the game. And they are very positive after last year's Six Nations.

"I enjoyed seeing them play the final last time but I want them to play the final again and win it this time. And I think they can do it."

France will enter this year's Six Nations with confidence after convincingly winning last year's championship.

Prior to that, they impressively defeated southern-hemisphere opponents South Africa and Australia.

More recently, they also notched up convincing victories over South Africa and Canada as well as a 20-20 draw against the All Blacks.

England and France at a level where they can win the World Cup

Philippe Sella

But Sella warned: "We know it will be tough with the likes of England, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa if they play like they can do.

"The southern hemisphere sides are strong. Australia have won the World Cup twice and New Zealand and South Africa have won it once each as well.

"But the northern hemisphere countries are better now, with England and France at a level where they can win the World Cup."

France open their Cup campaign against Fiji on 11 October next year and also face Japan and Scotland in Pool B.

Sella insisted the French would ease through that group.

He explained: "Scotland need to follow the other Six Nations teams and try and make an impact but I think it will prove too difficult for them."

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France legend Philippe Sella
"I hope France can win it"

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