Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

Maro Itoje issues 'confrontational' warning to France

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Maro Itoje has insisted that wounded England are not in Paris to simply make up the numbers when they take on the Grand Slam-chasing France on Saturday. Eddie Jones’ side travelled over on Tuesday – two days earlier than planned – for this weekend’s Guinness Six Nations finale and defeat would spell a second successive championship where the English have lost more games than they have won in the tournament. 

ADVERTISEMENT

However, rather than being affected by the pessimistic talk surrounding England following their 15-32 Twickenham loss to Ireland last weekend, Itoje came out fighting on Friday at his pre-game media briefing and claimed that winning is their only target and that it is achievable. 

“Away victories in the Six Nations are tough,” he said. “History suggests the home team tends to have an advantage. France are a good team with a lot of good players but I also believe we are also a good team. We have a lot of good players and we can impose ourselves on this game. 

Video Spacer

Le Crunch Time | The French Rugby Podcast

It’s crunch time for Fabien Galthie’s men as they prepare to face England with a title and Grand Slam on the line in Paris and we analyse all the tactical, personnel and mental battles. Former England international and Toulon and Lyon full back Delon Armitage joins us to give us his insight, as well as to share a few stories on the likes of Bernard Laporte and Mourad Boudjellal from his Champions Cup winning days, and we pick our MEATER Moment of the Week…
Use the code FRENCHPOD10 at checkout for 10% off any full price item at Meater.com

Video Spacer

Le Crunch Time | The French Rugby Podcast

It’s crunch time for Fabien Galthie’s men as they prepare to face England with a title and Grand Slam on the line in Paris and we analyse all the tactical, personnel and mental battles. Former England international and Toulon and Lyon full back Delon Armitage joins us to give us his insight, as well as to share a few stories on the likes of Bernard Laporte and Mourad Boudjellal from his Champions Cup winning days, and we pick our MEATER Moment of the Week…
Use the code FRENCHPOD10 at checkout for 10% off any full price item at Meater.com

“We are in good shape. There was a lot of effort during the game (against Ireland with 14-players) but ultimately we fell short. There was a bit of physical recovery, a bit of mental recovery that we needed to do this week, but this is a special opportunity for us as a team and as individuals. We are going to be ready to go. 

“It’s about the type of team we want to be. Ultimately you are playing for the win, playing for each other. Playing against France is always competitive but we’re playing for England here and our motivation is to win. We don’t want to let this game pass us by. Playing for England is a massive honour and it is a responsibility we do our best each time. 

Related

“There is always pressure when you play Test rugby. Pressure is a fact of life and it’s about how you deal with it and what that pressure does to you. This is a game that we want to win, we are not coming here just to take part, we are not coming here just to make numbers. We want to be confrontational and win this game.” 

Itoje excelled in last weekend’s round four defeat, his performance skirting world-class heights as he set about being a huge England nuisance to Ireland who took quite some time to make their numerical advantage eventually count after Charlie Ewels was red-carded just 82 seconds into the match. The lock judges how he plays every game by the number of engagements he makes and those figures were excessive at Twickenham. 

ADVERTISEMENT

“Yeah, they were pretty high. I don’t think it was my all-time high. I can’t remember the precise number but I don’t think it was my all-time high. But it was a lot and the challenge for me is to do better this weekend.   

“I haven’t found it difficult (to recover). This is an incredible opportunity, the type of challenge that we want against a top-quality team. This is an unbelievable opportunity for everyone in the team.

“These kind of moments, playing for England is an absolute honour and these type of moments you can’t really take for granted. You never know when they will come again. The future isn’t guaranteed. All we can guarantee is this game and live in the present.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

LIVE

{{item.title}}

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

0 Comments
Be the first to comment...

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

FEATURE
FEATURE 'Ireland could end up with 20 Lions after winning back the world's respect' 'Ireland could end up with 20 Lions after winning back the world's respect'
Search