Wales coach Warren Gatland has backed England to end France's RBS 6 Nations title ambitions - and boost his own - with victory at Twickenham tomorrow.
Gatland suffered his first championship defeat as Wales coach in Paris two weekends ago in the face of a passionate and powerful French display.
If Les Bleus beat England on Sunday, they enter the final weekend and a trip to Rome in the knowledge that a comprehensive victory over Italy could be enough to seal the title.
But Gatland believes Martin Johnson, who reacted furiously to England’s 14-13 defeat to Ireland, will have his men fired up to meet that French passion.
“I think there is a performance in England,” said Gatland, whose Welsh side are searching for a big win over Italy in Rome today.
“I think they could well beat France at home. They have got to front up and give a performance.
“The challenge for France is can they repeat that emotional intensity they brought against us in Paris?
“There were periods of that game when France were almost out on their feet - but they hung in there and brought a huge amount of emotion to the game.
“England, though, have been improving.”
Former England captain Lawrence Dallaglio is another who is confident Johnson’s men will claim their first major scalp in a year.
England have won just five of their 15 Tests since beating France in the 2007 World Cup semi-finals, a run of form which has seen them dip to eighth in the world, their lowest-ever ranking.
While England’s defensive game has looked sound and their attacking game is beginning to develop, Johnson has struggled to fix the biggest problem of all - their gross indiscipline.
England have received 10 yellow cards and conceded more than 60 penalties in the last four Tests, statistics which cost them a chance of a Triple Crown, with defeats to Wales and Ireland.
Johnson has warned England they risk being ripped apart by the Gallic mix of power and pace if they sacrifice possession by conceding more careless penalties.
“Whenever you play France you know that if you are not at your absolute best there is a chance they could rip you to pieces. They are different and dangerous,” said Johnson, who called referees Wayne Barnes and Andrew Small into the camp to try to hammer home the message.
“In these games there will be points when it is tight and whoever can score or take advantage of the situation next comes through to win.
“Look at the Ireland game. We had an opportunity to score a try when Mathew Tait made his break. That could have been huge in terms of points but also psychological impact value, but we didn’t score it.”