French anticipate tough Boks
Paris - France rugby union coach Marc Lievremont admitted Thursday he was anticipating a tough clash for his weary side against South Africa next week.
Lievremont said he was both "impatient and worried" as the Six Nations champions prepare to play the Springboks in Cape Town on June 12, as part of a tour of South Africa and Argentina.
The French players are all coming off long seasons and Lievremont said: "We know only too well that these June tournaments are often complicated.
"The players are at the end of their tether. There is joy at meeting up again and apprehension given the unfavourable context."
France play South Africa in Cape Town on June 12, an Argentinian provincial selection in La Plata on June 18 and Argentina in Buenos Aires on June 26.
And he expects a tougher match against the Springboks than the side defeated 20-13 in Toulouse last November.
"You can't forget that it was at the end of their season," said Liveremont of the autumn game.
"Even if they play less matches than us they were certainly not in the same rhythm as today.
"They are strong in the scrum, have a functioning line-up and world class players in all positions. It's not for nothing that the Boks are made up of (players from) the Stormers and Bulls who made the final (Super 14).
"In terms of cohesion, physical freshness and intensity, a lot of things are in their favour."
But the France coach is determined to find the spirit which helped his side win the Six Nations Grand Slam.
"We have to find what helped us during the Six Nations, find what worked and also what lacked.
"Unfortunately for us we'll have to do much more to compete in the south. It's all about differences in the physical fitness but also interpretation of the rules.
"In the south there is a lot more rhythm and fluidity. We're going to try and find the balance between the strong points of the north, French rugby, and the more explosive form in South Africa."