France No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy boldly proclaimed Wales the "All Blacks of the northern hemisphere" ahead of Saturday's World Cup semifinal between the European rivals in Auckland.
The Biarritz veteran made the statement with a straight face and backed up his brazen claim by saying that he had not seen a team really test Wales, who did in fact lose their opening pool game (16-17) to defending champions South Africa.
"We often say they're the All Blacks of the north," Harinordoquy said. "They're a very good team and above all one which is oozing confidence.
"They seem to be very calm among themselves," he added. "Even if they're hassled in the games, they don't let it go.
"They fall back on their gameplans, what they know how to do. I haven't really seen a team in this tournament that has made them suffer, that has really been able to destabilise them.
"That's really a very strong point for them."
The 31-year-old back row forward added the Welsh team, featuring a number of youngsters mixed in with more senior players, was capable of inflicting damage from all areas of the field.
"As soon as you let them attack, they have some very straight running players, lots of speed and a big midfield combination, with a mobile and brave pack of forwards," he warned.
Harinordoquy, capped 75 times by France, said the key to victory lay in keeping hold of the ball.
"Wales are a team against which you have to retain the ball and be disciplined. They are also capable of defending for a long time.
Backs coach Emile Ntamack said France, two-time finalists but never the winners of a World Cup, were feeling the tension ahead of Saturday's game
"We're not relaxed, we're under pressure," the former France wing said.
"I don't think we're favourites, Wales are one of best teams in the competition.
"It's the semifinal of the World Cup, we know it will be tough."
Ntamack admitted he and other members of Marc Lievremont's coaching team were still trying to bring the best of the side, often accused of not being able to follow up one strong performance with another.
"We want to play well but haven't found a way to string games together," he said. "We haven't found the solution for the moment.
"We want to play two good games [in a row]."
Earlier this week, Lievremont named an unchanged team for Saturday's match.
France's Dimitri Yachvili is confident he'll be fit for the weekend but the Biarritz scrumhalf has not yet resumed squad training as he recuperates from a bruised thigh sustained in the 19-12 quarter-final win over England.
Yachvili will likely hand goal-kicking duties to halfback partner Morgan Parra, with a decision on his starting spot to be made on either Friday or Saturday.
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