France captain Fabien Pelous refuses to give up hope that his side can overcome the odds and retain their RBS 6 Nations crown this weekend.
Winners of the Grand Slam last year, Bernard Laporte's side travel to Rome's Stadio Flaminio on Saturday to complete their tournament programme with a clash against Italy.
Les Bleus can still finish top of the table, but they need to beat the Italians by at least 50 points and hope that Ireland win in Wales, who are the only team still in contention for this season's Grand Slam.
France have been left with a mountain to climb following their 24-18 home defeat to the Welsh last month but an impressive 26-19 win over previously-unbeaten Ireland last weekend has given the team an outside chance for the trip to Italy.
Pelous for one isn't giving up the ghost just yet, although he admits it is going to be a tough ask.
"Finishing in the top place? We both believe in it and we don't at the same time," he said.
"What counts the most after all is how we play. If we feel we have a chance we will take it but Italy will be tough opponents, I am sure.
"They have gradually improved each year, they are developing their game.
"Even though they are not the best team in the world, we will have to concentrate.
"Claiming that we can beat Italy by a large score is inappropriate and disrespectful."
After missing out on England's 2015 RBS 6 Nations campaign through injury, centre Brad Barritt admits he is determined to make up for that disappointment in style with club side Saracens during the season run-in.