Zidane supports French rugby
Former France football star Zinedine Zidane pledges his allegiance to the home side.
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2007 11:09 GMT
Zinedine Zidane will be an interested spectator at
the Rugby World Cup in France [GALLO/GETTY]
Zinedine Zidane, former France football legend, has volunteered to become the nation's number one supporter during the Rugby World Cup, according to France coach Bernard Laporte.
"I talked to Zinedine on the phone yesterday (Tuesday)," Laporte said ahead of the opening match of the tournament on Friday where France play Argentina.
"He rang to say we were about to live a powerful and difficult moment.
"He added he would not be able to come to the Stade de France on Friday but would watch the game on TV in Madrid and would be our first supporter."

The words of the 1998 World Cup-winning playmaker "went straight to the hearts of the players", the French coach added.

He said his team were relying on enormous support from the French people when they started their campaign.

"We are playing the World Cup at home," Laporte added.

"We are asking all our supporters to wear a blue jersey on Friday at the Stade de France.

"We are asking them to share our feelings and to play the part of a 23rd player."

"We have never been so well prepared. The 30 players are all fit and concentrated on training."

Bernard Laporte, France coach

The French coach said he regarded the Pumas match as "decisive" because top spot in Pool D, which also includes Ireland, would likely lead to a quarter-final match-up against  Scotland or Italy whereas second place in the group would almost certainly mean an early clash against Cup favourites New Zealand.

"We are confident because so far everything is fine," Laporte said.

"We have never been so well prepared. The 30 players are all fit and concentrated on training.

"Our warm-up games went well.

"We are all longing for the tournament to start because there is always a lot of excitement before the first game," he added.

"We know the Pumas will be tough opponents.

"We know what they are going to offer us and we know what we are going to offer. It's as simple as that."

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