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Last Updated: Friday, 26 March, 2004, 06:38 GMT
Campese favours France
By Jonathon Moore
Rugby union editor

France face England in Paris on Saturday evening
France face England in Paris on Saturday evening

Former Australian winger David Campese has tipped France to claim the Six Nations Grand Slam when they meet England in Paris on Saturday.

Campese, who holds the world record of 64 international tries, said the world champions would fall short at the Stade de France.

"With the French playing at home they have to be favourites," he said.

"England will have to play their best Six Nations game if they are to win, but I think France will hold on."

Should Les Bleus defeat England they would claim their fourth Grand Slam in eight years.

England need a minimum seven point win to claim the championship, and must hope that Ireland do not put a cricket score on Scotland.

But Campese is not convinced the statisticians will be needed.

CAMPO'S LIST OF HONOUR
Lawrence Dallaglio: "Very impressive as always"
Ben Cohen: "Strong as an Ox and sound in attack"
Ronan O'Gara: "The lynch-pin of the Ireland side"
Brian O'Driscoll: "So powerful on the burst"
Shane Williams: "Great stepper - superb to watch"
Gareth Thomas: "In the best form of his life"
Serge Betsen: "A real terrier and destructive force"
"France may not have played with much of their traditional flair yet. But they still haven't lost," he said.

"That's the key thing. If they do decide to play with flair - how scary will they be?"

Campese, a long-time critic of English rugby, paid tribute to the European game and said this year's Six Nations championship was proof the "power has shifted".

"Rugby is getting a lot more coverage," he said.

"For example, England and France will play live on primetime TV on Saturday, so interest in the game is enormous.

"I think that, having watched England versus Wales, and Ireland's win over England, rugby seems to have reached a new high."

Campese, capped 101 times by Australia, highlighted the set piece as the new battleground, and said the European game was far stronger in both the scrum and line-out.

"(Australia coach) Eddie Jones said after the World Cup that Australia can't scrummage and lineout properly," he added.

"But that's where the Six Nations is so strong.

"Looking at the Super 12 again this year, we still have the same old problems in the set piece. So now it's our turn to learn from you guys."




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