France to 'lift tempo' for 'crucial' Ireland Six Nations trip

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France captain Charles Ollivon said on Saturday his side need to improve further for next weekend's trip to Ireland despite hammering Italy in their Six Nations opener.

Ollivon's men scored seven tries in the 50-10 thumping of the Azzurri with scrum-half Antoine Dupont crossing once and setting up four others.

"Next week will be different. We have to prepare well," Ollivon said after the win at the Stadio Olimpico.

"We have to lift the tempo again by putting in a lot of effort to prepare for this match which will be crucial," he added.

Les Bleus, without a title since 2010's Grand Slam, were clinical over Franco Smith's inexperienced outfit who were missing starting back-rowers Braam Steyn and Jake Polledri.

Last year's tournament runners-up scored on each visit to the opposition 22 metres, lost possession at line-out and scrum time just once each and were successful with 90% of their tackles.

"We have to focus well on the whole week to be able to put on a good performance," Toulon flanker Ollivon added.

"We have to go further in all the sectors. We want more, want to be more rigorous but I don't want to single out one sector," he added.

- 'Unsurprised' by Dupont -

Dupont continued his club form at Test level in Rome.

Dupont, 24, has dotted down in six times for Toulouse in all competitions since the start of the season.

"As usual, he played really well. We really need him with the way he controls the game. His communication is really good. His quality speaks for itself, it no longer surprises anyone," Ollivon said.

"He's at a very good level, it's very good for him and also the team. It allows us to continue to lift our level of play and I hope it continues," he added.

Smith's men head to England next Saturday after suffering a 28th straight Six Nations defeat.

The South African picked 19-year-old Stephen Varney at scrum-half and handed Treviso centre Juan Ignacio Brex his debut.

A third of his starting lineup had fewer than 10 caps before the game.

"Growing a team at international level is difficult. We don't have a lot of time together," Smith said after the loss.

"We lack international experience. At the moment we only have the Under-20 team and the two franchises, and many matches have been cancelled.

"It will be better next week."

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