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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 September 2007, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Ibanez is still wary of the Irish
French captain Raphael Ibanez
Raphael Ibanez does not believe Ireland are a bad team
France v Ireland
Stade de France, Paris
Friday, 21 September
Kick-off: 2000 BST
Live coverage on BBC Radio 5live, Radio Ulster MW & the BBC Sport website

Ireland may have fluffed their World Cup lines to date, but French captain Raphael Ibanez is still wary ahead of Friday's World Cup clash in Paris.

"I do not believe that they are a team in decline," said Ibanez. "Maybe they are suffering but that only makes them more dangerous.

"They still have world class players plus they have won their first two matches.

"A team which can win in adversity, is still not that bad!"

Ibanez, who was also captain in the 1999 tournament, said that he was expecting a long tough night against opponents, who have only beaten them once in their last seven meetings.

"I am very determined," he said. "We know that we are going to have lot of work to do, especially up front, because we know the qualities of the Irish.

"But I have no intention of building up this game too much. We know the importance of this match - lose and we go out but I would obviously prefer to qualify directly."

Ibanez was also eagerly anticipating taking on his Wasps team-mate, Irish scrum-half Eoin Reddan, who was stunningly brought in by Irish coach Eddie O'Sullivan in place of Peter Stringer.

Reddan has dynamite in his legs

Raphael Ibanez

"I'm very happy for Eoin because he is an excellent player," said Ibanez, who retired from international rugby in 2003 only to change his mind in 2005.

"His selection isn't great news for the French team, because he is a very provocative player, who likes to take control of a game and who gets his forwards very involved around the rucks.

"I think that Eddie O'Sullivan wanted to add some dynamism to the team's game and he certainly has done that because Reddan has dynamite in his legs."

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