Bonnaire - Pressure on NZ

France forward begins mind games ahead of crunch clash

Last Updated: 22/09/11 6:28pm

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France back row Julien Bonnaire thinks New Zealand may buckle under the pressure of a host nation's expectations at the World Cup.

Bonnaire has been quick to start the mind games ahead of his side's Pool A clash with the All Blacks on Saturday.

New Zealand, who have not won the tournament since the inaugural event in 1987, suffered two famous defeats to France in 1999 and 2007.

And Bonnaire is keen to inject doubt in the minds of his opponents, suggesting that the pressure to end the drought of success on the global stage may prove too much for them to handle.

"The All Blacks know we are unpredictable, both in a good and a bad way actually. We can either fail or pull it off - and that is what they fear," he said.

"Clearly there are high expectations from a whole nation who support them fully - perhaps too much even. We experienced that ourselves in 2007 in France."

The build-up to the match has been dominated by France's supposed second-string line-up, with some suggesting coach Marc Lievremont would be satisfied with a defeat as it is likely to place his side in the easier side of the draw for the knockout stages,

But in reality many of France's star players, such as captain Thierry Dusautoir, scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili and wing Vincent Clerc will be starting, although Morgan Parra will be making his first Test start at fly-half.

Bonnaire added: "Controversy is part of the deal. The media are looking to get their hands on anything. It doesn't affect me. It's up to us to prove them wrong on the field."

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