Anger will fuel French response - Dusautoir

Fri, Feb 8, 2013, 00:00

Rugby:Thierry Dusautoir has told his French team-mates to use the anger they feel over last weekend's humiliation against Italy in Rome to get their Six Nations campaign back on track.

Dusautoir has been restored to the French captaincy for Saturday's clash with Wales in Paris in place of secondrow Pascal Pape, who has been ruled out through injury. The backrower insists inspiring the team to bounce back from their shock 23-18 opening-day defeat will be easy provided they channel their frustration in the correct way.

"I don't think the players need my help," Dusautoir said. "They are angry about their performance last weekend. But we have to remember the Italians played a very good game. We weren't good enough to win a Six Nations match. I think our pride was hurt enough that we will be able to get ourselves up for the Welsh game."

Dusautoir, the 2011 world player of the year, can speak from experience as he was also captain of France two years ago when they were beaten by the Azzurri for the first time.

He added: "It's not the first time that I find myself in this situation, after a defeat in Italy. It's a situation that I know, but there aren't that many solutions for bouncing back. We have four games left. We have to tell ourselves that the tournament didn't end in Rome."

Head coach Philippe Saint-Andre said the decision to restore Dusautoir to the captaincy was an easy one.

Saint-Andre said: "It was the natural choice. From the moment Pascal got injured and Thierry was feeling good, he was naturally going to be the captain. We believe in this squad, now it's up to us to get our heads down and prepare for a tough game against Wales. It's in defeat that we learn. We will see how the team reacts collectively. We will need to find the solutions to how we rediscover the freshness and efficiency that was lacking in Italy."

Centre Mathieu Bastareaud will return to the French starting line-up in place of Florian Fritz, who has started the last seven internationals but will have to settle for a place on the bench.

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