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Last Updated: Thursday, 23 October, 2003, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Magne tips Wallabies
France's Olivier Magne
Magne has one eye on Australia already
France flanker Olivier Magne has tipped Australia to successfully defend their World Cup crown.

The Wallabies won the Webb Ellis Trophy back in 1999 but have fallen behind both New Zealand and England in the bookmakers' minds four years on.

But Magne is desperate to avoid facing Australia, who await the French if they fail to beat Scotland at the weekend.

He said: "It's very important we win on Saturday because, if we lose, we come second and must play Australia.

"And they are my favourites.

"We would prefer not to play them until as late in the tournament as possible because I know the mentality of the Australian players.

"Everybody is saying they are not at the level of New Zealand and England but they're playing at home and they have got something to prove."

We are both playing for first place in the pool - it's going to be tight
Olivier Magne

Australia have convincingly won their opening two games, notching up a combined tally of 114 points against Argentina and Romania.

Should France beat Scotland they look set to play either Italy or Wales.

The French go into Saturday's game against the Scots as favourites but Magne is refused to get overconfident.

He added: "We've watched them on television and we think we can cause them some problems, but it will be very difficult.

"Like us, Scotland have been preparing for this game for three months. They're going to be a different proposition physically and we are both playing for first place in the pool. It's going to be tight."

Scotland go into the game without the services of flanker Martin Leslie, who was banned for 12 weeks after being found guilty of kneeing the USA's Jason Keyter in the head.

"I know Leslie and he's not a violent player," said Magne. "Maybe the ban is a bit long. But sometimes the line between aggressivity and violence is very thin."





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