France are plotting to put a ‘knife in the back’ of England’s Grand Slam hopes in Paris on Saturday night, after Eddie Jones’s side secured the Six Nations Championship last weekend. Heavyweight prop Uini Atonio, who weighs 24st 6lb, has outlined their intention to deny England’s first clean sweep in the Six Nations since 2003 under Sir Clive Woodward.
Les Bleus have already beaten Italy and Ireland at the Stade de France and Atonio is hoping to end Eddie Jones’s winning streak and ruin the Red Rose victory parade in the French capital.
‘We want to finish on a high against an England team that haven’t lost yet,’ Atonio told the Daily Mail. ‘They’re out to win the Grand Slam and it will be a little knife in the back if we beat them, which would be good. They’ve got new coaches and players who are still hurting from the World Cup. In front of 80,000 people at home, it would be satisfying to give our fans something to feel good about.’
After back-to-back defeats by Wales and Scotland, France have slipped to fourth in the table after initially winning the first two Tests of Guy Noves’ tenure as coach.
Full back Scott Spedding added: ‘It’s important for our confidence and stability that we get a result against England. We’re under no illusions of what’s awaiting us in Paris. ‘There’s a lot of rivalry. England are coming to win the Grand Slam. We’re playing at home and the one thing we can hold on to this year is that we’re undefeated at home.
‘I’m sure it will be mentioned that we don’t want England to win it at our place. ‘But we’re not going in with a sour attitude because, as professionals, you don’t need things like that to motivate you in a Test against England.’