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Brusque issues Azzurri warning
19 February 2004 14:14pm
France full-back Nicolas Brusque has warned his team-mates against underestimating the threat posed by RBS 6 Nations minnows Italy when the two teams clash in Paris this weekend.
Brusque is taking nothing for granted, however, and believes France will have to work hard if they are to prevent Italy causing an upset.
"I hope Italy will just be a mere formality, but I doubt it," Brusque said.
"We have to respect that team, work this week and raise our game on Saturday.
"The Italians like battling and have pace. They are Latins, they are proud and this is not going to be an easy tie at all."
Flanker Olivier Magne added: "The Italians are smart players, but on the other hand we are sure about our strengths and qualities."
France will be without fly-half Frederic Michalak because of a neck injury and his place will be taken by Biarritz youngster Julien Peyrelongue.
The goalkicking responsibilities are therefore set to fall to scrum-half Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Michalak's team-mate at Stade Toulouse.
Italy have also been forced into changes for the match at the Stade de France with fullback Andrea Masi definitely out having picked up a leg injury in the 50-9 defeat to England.
"I am gutted, I had never been in a better physical and mental condition and I was enjoying myself in training as well as in the game," Masi said.
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