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Last Updated:  Saturday, 29 March, 2003, 15:29 GMT
World Cup fuels French fire
Wing Vincent Clerc scores France's second try against Wales
Clerc scored the second French try
Hooker Raphael Ibanez insisted there was no question of France not taking their final Six Nations fixture seriously after they beat Wales 33-5 in Paris.

Tries from Thomas Castaignede, Vincent Clerc and Frederic Michalak and 18 points from the boot of Dimitri Yachvili secured Les Bleus' third win of the campaign.

"Last year we were fought until the last game for the Grand Slam," said Ibanez, who was named man-of-the-match.

"This year it was different but everybody in the team had something to aim for - a place on the plane to Sydney for the World Cup.

"We had many reasons to concentrate today."

France recovered from a poor start when Gareth Thomas scored a fourth-minute try for Wales and Craig Morgan missed an opportunity to add a second.

"It was a very bad start for us and we were very worried after 15 minutes," Ibanez admitted.

"But fortunately all the group were very strong mentally and we kept working hard which was good."

France coach Bernard Laporte had mixed feelings about his side's display.

"We were unambitious, slow and had no real rhythm in the first half but we stepped up the pace afterwards and did the simple things right, getting some decent phases going," he said.

"You have to be satisfied with the margin of the win but we know there is some work to do.

"I've got no real explanation for our poor start but it's true there was nothing really at stake in the match."




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