Kicking coach Vlok Cilliers says France are “adding components” to their engine to compete with the Springboks, the “Lamborghini of world rugby”.
A youthful France team is on the cusp of claiming their first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2010, with matches against Wales in Cardiff and England in Paris left to negotiate in the next couple of weeks.
Should they lift the Six Nations title, France’s next target would be winning the 2023 World Cup on home soil.
France are in Pool A of the tournament, alongside New Zealand. Should the tournament hosts finish as runners-up in their pool, they could face the Springboks in the quarter-finals, should Jacques Nienaber’s team top their pool.
In an interview with Sport24, Cilliers predicted the All Blacks and Boks would be France’s two biggest hurdles to winning their maiden World Cup title.
“We know what the All Blacks can do and that they were dominating world rugby for a very long time. Now the Springboks are dominating world rugby. They are the Ferraris and Lamborghinis of world rugby,” Cilliers told Sport24. “As a team, we are moulding our car in the garage and adding components to it so that we can ensure that we have a vehicle that is up there and can compete with the best in the world.
“We are gathering good momentum in the Six Nations and are on the right track but there are still two tough games left. Our culture is just to work hard. It’s more than a decade since the French public has seen their team lift a trophy so there is pressure on this side to perform. It’s time to repay all the loyal supporters and give the French public something back for their support over the years.”
The former Western Province flyhalf is one of two non-French coaches in Fabien Galthie’s staff, the other being Welshman Shaun Edwards, who is in charge of the team’s defence.
“If I’m not mistaken, I think it’s the first time in French history that they have two foreign coaches involved with the national side,” Cilliers added.
“It’s actually a big honour for myself and Shaun that a person of Fabien’s pedigree chose to bring two coaches from outside the French culture into the inner-circle.
“I think what Fabien has done well is that he has put the right people around him. He has really good coaches and a strong management team in place. It’s a very talented playing group we have at the moment with a young age profile and, as coaches, it’s up to us to always get the best out of them.”
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