Although coach Fabien Galthie made 12 changes to the team who beat New Zealand in their opening game, France will not take things lightly when they face Uruguay in Pool A on Thursday, he said.
Les Bleus started their campaign with a 27-13 win against the All Blacks to flex their maiden title credentials and it was expected that most of the players in the starting line-up would be rested at Lille’s Pierre Mauroy stadium.
Galthie kept Yoram Moefana, Cameron Woki and Gabin Villiere, but wanted to involve the usual replacements – the ‘finishers’ as he likes to call them.
Hooker Pierre Bourgarit, who might get more playing time than expected after Julien Marchand sustained a thigh injury against three-time champions New Zealand, is one of them and he is ready for a big fight against the South American side.
“We’re getting into this game just like the one against New Zealand. There’s a gap (between the two teams) on paper, but the Uruguay players will want to do well,” he told a press conference on Wednesday.
“There is too much to lose by looking down on them.”
Bourgarit missed the 2019 World Cup and he is keen to make an impact.
“I want to give it my all. We know full well that Uruguay are a strong team who will rely on the fundamentals of the game,” he said.
“They also have some very good players at the back. They have enough collective experience. That’s why we’re not taking this match lightly. We want to play a full, serious match.”
Centre Arthur Vincent vowed to put the team first, knowing he is behind Moefana, Gael Fickou and Jonathan Danty in Galthie’s pecking order.
“We all want to play a maximum of games but I’m putting my personal feelings aside,” he said.
“We prepare for every match in the same way, with the same frame of mind, we want to win them. It was important to get off to a good start in the competition. It’s satisfying. Looking ahead to tomorrow, we expect the Uruguayans to put in a lot of energy.
“We’re expecting a big fight. We want to be there. We want to play a big game collectively and strategically.”
Italy lead Pool A after claiming a bonus-point win against Namibia, one point ahead of France, who will finish the pool phase against the Azzurri in Lyon on Oct. 6.