France scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili has confessed his admiration for English rugby as he prepares to put the boot into the world champions' RBS 6 Nations Championship ambitions for the third straight year.
The Biarritz star has been England's tormentor-in-chief in the last two seasons, kicking Les Bleus to the Grand Slam in the final game of the 2004 tournament before spearheading a second-half assault as English hearts were broken in an extraordinary game at Twickenham last year.
However, as he prepared for Sunday's match, Yachvili was much more interested in looking back on the season he spent in England in 2001-02, when he helped Gloucester win the Championship title - their first silverware since 1978.
"I really loved the English, living there and learning their language," he told L'Equipe.
"They have the same animosity towards us as we have towards them but they don't speak about it.
"They are sometimes arrogant, but it's because they work like crazy. When I was there, I discovered a new level of passion for rugby.
"The English are totally devoted to it whereas in France, we are more laid back."
This weekend's game is being billed as a RBS 6 Nations title decider even though both sides have seen their Grand Slam hopes dashed by Scotland in recent weeks.
France team manager Jo Maso admits his side's patchy form is a cause for concern, after Les Bleus followed up their opening-weekend defeat at Murrayfield with inconsistent performances against Ireland and Italy.
"We are worried about our game when we don't manage to settle - that's why we work hard," said Maso.
"It is annoying to see us play well for only one half. We have the quality and the players to express our potential for 80, if not 90, minutes so we should try that against the English.
"Last year, the same thing happened. We started off the tournament very badly but as the matches went by, we felt better and better.
"I hope we will display our best performance of the tournament against the English - we must rediscover the French team we all like."
Centre Florian Fritz is still doubtful with a knee injury and a decision on his availability will be taken on Wednesday, shortly before coach Bernard Laporte and Maso unveil their starting line-up.
As head coach Stuart Lancaster polishes the axe he will soon wield over his World Cup training squad, Exeter Chiefs coach Rob Baxter has backed Jack Nowell, Henry Slade and Luke Cowan-Dickie to be given a stay of execution.
Italy Under-20s held off a late Samoa blitz to retain their place in the World Rugby U20 Championship on Saturday and head coach Alessandro Troncon believes the experience will have served as a valuable lesson for his young troops.