The 29-year-old scrum-half returns to the starting XV for the must-win clash as Les Bleus look to salvage some pride from a disappointing RBS 6 Nations, which has seen them fall to back-to-back defeats to Ireland and Wales.
We know the Italians put up a great performance in Scotland, and this game will be tough for us. Even the Irish struggled in Italy, but it is a good opportunity for us to show what we are capable of.
Sébastien Tillous-Borde on France’s match against Italy
Consistency and confidence have been a problem for France in this year’s championship and there is added pressure on Philippe Saint-André and his players to deliver at the Stadio Olimpico with the Rugby World Cup just six months away.
The Italian capital isn’t a happy hunting ground for the French after going down to shock defeats in 2011 and 2013, but the Toulon dynamo believes the match on Sunday is a chance to show what they can do.
“The week has been positive, and we need to keep that going as we travel to Italy,” Tillous-Borde said.
“We know the Italians put up a great performance in Scotland, and this game will be tough for us.
“Even the Irish struggled in Italy, but it is a good opportunity for us to show what we are capable of.
“We have two games left, and we need to be at 100 per cent.
“I don’t know if we should be scared; the only thing that matters is us.
“We need to be positive, to play our own brand of rugby, and to be totally committed to everything we do on the pitch.
“Our last couple of games in Italy are hard to explain. Losing happens, although we are always expected to win against Italy, which puts us under a bit more pressure.”
After scraping past Scotland in Paris in round one of this year’s championship, France have failed to capture the imagination at home or abroad with their defeats to Ireland and Wales.
We need to get closer to what the team showed in the last 20 minutes against Ireland, or against Wales when they scored the try…I think there are guys in the squad that are mature enough to do it, and it is crucial that we actually do it.
The side that lost 20-13 to Wales in Paris at the end of February faced a barrage of criticism from the coaches and public, which has led Saint-Andre into making eight changes, including Tillous-Borde’s promotion from the bench
And the scrum-half, who renews his half-back partnership with Camille Lopez from last November’s autumn series, insists that France have shown signs that they are capable of performing well and getting results.
“We tried to focus on simple things against Wales, and we ended up losing our first possession, then dropped the ball on our second, and kicking on our third,” he said.
“We didn’t hold the ball and ended up defending for 20 minutes.
“Then we gave away penalties, which put us in a bad dynamics. We need to avoid that on Sunday.
“I saw that the team was a able to do great things when the boys were able to loosen up, and that it was more difficult when they played under pressure.
“We need to get closer to what the team showed in the last 20 minutes against Ireland, or against Wales when they scored the try.
“Everyone is doing their part and being very positive. Philippe asked us to get involved more, to take our responsibilities.
“I think there are guys in the squad that are mature enough to do it, and it is crucial that we actually do it.
“We had a meeting on Sunday, we talked, it is a good thing and we are all on the same page before going to Italy.”
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