France face a make-or-break encounter with Tonga on Saturday in Wellington, with Les Bleus needing a victory to ensure they reach the quarter-finals.
And Ellis insists it is vital France become more "streetwise" at the ruck and maul area if they are progress in the tournament.
"I think if you look at the tournament so far, the French team are the most disciplined in the World Cup," he said.
"We mentioned this in the week, we're probably too clean. Other teams are leaving their hands in or pushing at the back of the ruck or doing things to slow down and we're not doing that, we're being a bit too clean.
"We've got to be a bit more streetwise and look at slowing the ball down so we can attack it afterwards."
Having stuttered to wins over Japan and Canada before being blown away 37-17 by New Zealand, it has not been a World Cup to remember for France.
However Ellis insists that Les Bleus can set the record straight when they take on Tonga.
"They have to front up against Tonga and it's probably the ideal game for them to answer the critics with regards to the aggression of our defence and our line speed," said Ellis.
"I think what you'll see is that the big players will step up, particularly on the defensive side of the game. I think they'll come out and give the performance everybody has been waiting for."
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