Six Nations: Johnson laughs off Lievremont comments

Martin Johnson claims Marc Lievremont's criticism shows fear in France camp ahead Six Nations clash

martin johnson
Martin Johnson's men take on France at Twickenham on Saturday Photo: Patrick Khachfe

martin johnson

England head coach Martin Johnson believes Marc Lievremont’s recent comments indicate fear within the France camp ahead their Six Nations showdown on Saturday.

The France coach caused controversy when he claimed his side had a level of respect for every team in the Six Nations – except Johnson’s men.

“I don’t know about fear, maybe there is a little bit of that there. If I read Marc’s quotes correctly they respect us as a team,” Johnson said.

“They have said from the outset that if they win here they will win the championship.

“We have been through one of these big build-ups already for the Wales game. That was a big challenge for us as a team and some of our individuals.

“I thought we handled it well. We are used to it. It is what we want.”

Lievremont had earlier said: “We have a bit of trouble with the English. We respect them – well in my case at least I respect them.

“But you couldn’t say we have the slightest thing in common with them.”

The 42-year-old former France back-row forward also feels England are “already in World Cup mode” and “physically on a different level” to his own team.

He added: “This insular country, who always drape themselves in the national flag, their hymns, their chants, their traditions. They are people who one regards as a very proud people.

“But we are also very aware, in terms of planning and preparation, that the English are already in 2011 World Cup mode.

“We can feel that all of the English players are physically on a different level.”

Johnson knows how pivotal the fixture at Twickenham will be for both sides but is confident his men can handle the pressure of performing on the big stage.

“These big games are what we work for,” Johnson added. “There will be pressure, there will be quotes used by the media to generate the hype.

“There is enough history in this game and in the history of the two countries to spice it up.

“People like to beat England. There is history involved with that and most of it is not rugby history.

“That is what makes the tournament fun. That is why people like it. It is passion. People want their country to win.”

Thomas Tuchel
Andy Townsend: Something ‘very special’ is brewing at Chelsea FC
Michael Owen
Micheal Owen opens up about ‘brutal’ Chelsea FC’s strong start
Mateo Kovacic
Garth Crooks praises 'outstanding' Chelsea FC midfielder Mateo Kovacic after Spurs win
Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane (Photo: Screen grab / Sky Sports)
‘Pure quality’: Roy Keane raves about Chelsea FC after Tottenham win
N'Golo Kante
Thomas Tuchel: It’s hard to believe how good Chelsea FC star is
Thomas Tuchel
Andy Townsend: Something ‘very special’ is brewing at Chelsea FC
Michael Owen
Micheal Owen opens up about ‘brutal’ Chelsea FC’s strong start
Mateo Kovacic
Garth Crooks praises 'outstanding' Chelsea FC midfielder Mateo Kovacic after Spurs win
Sky Sports pundit Roy Keane (Photo: Screen grab / Sky Sports)
‘Pure quality’: Roy Keane raves about Chelsea FC after Tottenham win
N'Golo Kante
Thomas Tuchel: It’s hard to believe how good Chelsea FC star is
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature
Top 50 Muslim footballers: Arsenal, Chelsea FC, Liverpool FC and Man United stars feature