France captain Fabien Pelous could be forgiven for wanting to forget the November Test matches but the giant lock believes their RBS 6 Nations opponents will have had some epic French performances seared into their memories.
Four wins from four matches – two of those came against southern hemisphere giants Australia and South Africa – have made the rugby world sit up and take notice with the clock slowly ticking down to the 2007 World Cup in France.
Pelous, whose 102 caps puts him second behind Philippe Sella in France’s all-time list, missed three of those four matches because of a nine-week ban for elbowing Australia’s Brendan Cannon, but is back as leader on the pitch of a team that begins its RBS 6 Nations campaign on February 5 against Scotland in Murrayfield.
Pelous may not count the November Tests as one of the personal highlights of his long and successful career but he considers the matches showed the national team is in excellent health.
"I think we can see that we have a group of around 30 or 35 players who all in good form and that we have plenty of strength in depth," Pelous said.
"We have good cover for every single place in the France team and that can only be good."
France’s four November Tests certainly must have alerted their RBS 6 Nations opponents that coach Bernard Laporte is forging a very strong team.
Kicking off with a 26-16 win over Australia, the French then completed more predictable triumphs at the expense of Canada (50-6) and Tonga (43-8).
They then rounded off the month with a 26-20 victory over South Africa.
Pelous singled out three men as having enhanced their reputation in what was a tremendous team effort from Laporte’s men.
The 32-year-old Toulouse lock said: "Dimitri Szarzewski, Yannick Nyanga and Jean-Philippe Grandclaude all did well in the November Test matches and the Six Nations countries will have watched those matches very carefully."
Pelous is adamant Laporte is not looking ahead to the World Cup and insists Les Bleus are fully concentrated on the northern hemisphere’s prime rugby tournament.
He said: "There is no point looking too far ahead.
"The best way that we can prepare for the World Cup is by delivering the right performances on the pitch now.
"We must try and always win matches of this sort of quality whenever we play them."