Biarritz number eight Thomas Lievremont has refused to blame the pressure of the 2007 World Cup for France's recent lapse of form in the RBS 6 Nations Championship.
Les Bleus were pre-tournament favourites to win the Grand Slam following some outstanding performances during their autumn schedule, which included victories over Australia and South Africa.
But a shock 20-16 defeat to Scotland in their tournament opener and a shaky display in their 43-31 win over Ireland at the Stade de France have made many wonder whether the French really have what it takes to win the World Cup they will host in 2007.
But Lievremont, who played nine minutes against Scotland, has brushed away all negative ideas.
''The fact France will organise the World Cup in less than two years does not scare the team,'' said the captain of 2005 Top 14 champions Biarritz.
''As a player, the idea that I am likely to feature at the World Cup does multiply my motivation by 10. The example of the 1998 World Cup with the French football team makes me dream, I want to experience the same thing.
''Competition has never been so strong within the French team and it is normal that the players sometimes feel under pressure but the individual desire to prove one's potential does not harm our collective potential,'' he said in L'Equipe.
''The World Cup is still a long way away,'' he added. ''A player who is only concentrating on that at the moment would be making a big mistake.
''There is no need to put on any extra pressure. Before the World Cup starts we have other big events to concentrate on, both with the French team and our clubs.
France's next RBS 6 Nations clash is on February 25 at the Stade de France against an Italy side which lost their matches against Ireland and England.
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.