Clerc: France are ignoring paper talk
Winger Vincent Clerc said France are in a world of their own as they prepare for Sunday's Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand.
Clerc said his team-maters were sheltering themselves from all of the media as they looked to secure their first tournament final victory against the overwhelming favourites.
"I have not turned the TV on all week," Clerc said. "I am not sure what is going in the outside world."
"We do not need motivation and we do not have to look at what others are doing. We are in our own bubble so it does not matter what the New Zealanders are doing in terms of preparation."
Clerc's statements appear to fly in the face of sentiment in the French dressing room. Earlier in the week team-mate Pascal Pape said criticism of France in the press provided extra motivation to the players.
Meanwhile France fly half Morgan Parra said keeping things within the group was essential given the amount of negative feedback they had received during a rollercoaster tournament.
He also said the criticisms had a silver lining in uniting the team ahead of the biggest match of their careers.
"We are trying to keep ourselves in a cocoon. The players are getting some negative feedback and if some are saying we do not deserve to be where we are, that hurts," he said.
"We play on the pitch and we try to give the best possible image of French rugby and when we read the criticism in the press, we don't want to read them."
"But criticism from our supporters saying we do not deserve to be here or certain English or Welsh players saying the same thing, that hurts but it brings is together."
Clerc said France the what faced them - playing the All Blacks in their backyard in front of thousands of vocal supporters - but said his side was 'drawn to difficulty'.
"We have a greater desire and we need to be realistic. We can't miss any opportunities," he said.
The final between France and New Zealand is scheduled to kick-off at 9pm (NZT) on Sunday at Eden Park.
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