Updated: Friday, 21 February 2014 11:42 | By Agence France-Presse

Plisson puts up case for the defence against Welsh in Six Nations

France fly-half Jules Plisson has made a positive impression in his first two appearances for his country but accepts that he will face a searching examination against two-time defending champions Wales on Friday.


Plisson puts up case for the defence against Welsh in Six Nations

France's fly-half Jules Plisson (R) is congratulated by a supporter after winning their Six Nations rugby union match against England, at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on February 1, 2014 - by Martin Bureau

The 22-year-old Stade Francais playmaker -- who has shot to the head of the fly-half list at the expense of the likes of Francois Trinh-Duc --  insists he has so far coped with what England and Italy have thrown at him but now knows the Welsh will seriously challenge his defensive capabilities.

That may be the weakest part of his game, but he accepts that if the French are to make it three wins from three games and keep alive their hopes of a first Grand Slam since 2010, he will have to stand firm against the likes of British and Irish Lions stars Jamie Roberts and George North, who has been switched to the centre from the wing for the game in Cardiff.     

"I am ready for a huge battle," said Plisson, whose performances for Stade Francais have been a major factor in his club becoming Top 14 title contenders this season after several years in the doldrums.

"It will be Jamie Roberts and George North in the centre, who are not the slightest of builds, but I will grit my teeth.

"I know it is in this area that I will have to do that because this is where I have been targeted by my opponents. I just have to improve on it to become a more complete player.

"However, I didn't shirk my duties against England or Italy, and against the latter side I finished with the most tackles." 

- More relaxed with each match -

Plisson, who tried his hand at football before opting for rugby at school, said that he was becoming more relaxed with each match at international level. 

"I am beginning to come to terms more with the team and having had a couple of starts in a row it has helped me enormously to improve my performance for the team," he said ahead of the game at the Millennium Stadium on Friday.

"I feel more and more at ease in training. And that was evident against Italy where I was able to take more of the initiative, whether with the boot or hand.

"Not everything was perfect, there are things to improve upon.

"On Friday it is going to be a very complicated task, in a magnificent stadium, but I am gagging for it to get underway as I have been thinking about it for a week now."

Plisson, who played for France at Under-18, 19 and 20 level, said he tried to avoid the pitfalls and pressure that came with his position. 

"At this level you are judged on your performance in each match," he said.

"That can inhibit some people, but not so much in my case.

"If I was ever going to be inhibited I would have been on my debut.

"I know that if the French team loses, it falls on the shoulders of the No 10 (fly-half), I have seen the guys who have played there before me, and I know how it has gone for them.

"I have tried to respect what I know to do and I have derived a lot of pleasure from the two matches I have played so far.

"I didn't feel overcome by the pressure. I think that was evident from the match against England (his debut which the French won 26-24) where I had a laugh with the referee before the kick-off.

"However, I would like to try and play a more liberated style of game. I would like to be the player that I am at my club, that is to say to attack the line, to create more attacking moves, to try and put my team-mates in the best possible field position.

"It is what I try to do for the French team even if the defences are more aggressive."

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