(Reuters) - Recent upsets by Japan and Uruguay at the Rugby World Cup have served as a warning to France not to take any team lightly, prop Sebastien Vahaamahina said ahead of the side’s clash against the United States in Fukuoka on Wednesday.
Uruguay stunned a fatigued and error-prone Fiji, who were tipped as potential quarter-finalists while hosts Japan beat recently top-ranked Ireland to put themselves in pole position to reach the knockouts for the first time.
“That is a warning to us,” Vahaamahina said. “That’s how we have to take it - we mustn’t relax but, on the contrary, build and lift the level of our game.”
Vahaamahina praised certain aspects of the United States’ performance in their 45-7 loss to England last Thursday, calling them physical and well-organised while team mate Gael Fickou said he also expects a tough physical encounter.
“It’s quite a direct style of rugby, with very physical players,” Fickou said. “They don’t move the ball around very well but they bring a lot of intensity, desire.
“It’s a team which will want to hurt us, attack us, block us. It’s up to us to be ready. If we add the right ingredients, we should win this match in the right way.”
Prop Demba Bamba and centre Wesley Fofana have been ruled out of the World Cup due to injuries for three-times runners-up France, who began their tournament with a 23-21 win over Argentina.
The French Rugby Federation confirmed here on Sunday that Bamba would be replaced by Racing 92 prop Cedate Gomes Sa in the squad.
Gomes Sa, 26, won the last of his nine caps against Argentina last November.
Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly and Toby Davis