THE SUN is shining on French rugby at present and captain Fabien Galthie yesterday forecasted the bright conditions will hover over the squad's base on Bondi beach right through until the World Cup final on November 22.
In short, Galthie backed France to beat England in Sunday's semi-final because, when Les Bleus are in this mood, there are few who can stop them. The 34-year-old scrum-half, who will once again forge his creative partnership with star fly-half Frederic Michalak, has been playing Test rugby for 12 years.
He has experienced as many lows as he has highlights for France, ranging from the sensational semifinal victory over New Zealand in 1999, to the toothless display against Australia a week later.
In 2002, Galthie was the lynchpin in France's Grand Slam-winning side. This year he was injured two games into the campaign and they finished third.
The summer tour appeared to be nothing less than a disaster as France lost twice to Argentina and were beaten by New Zealand.
The French then finished distinctly worse off after two warm-up matches with England, beating their B selection by just one point before being over-run 45-14 at Twickenham a week later.
And yet, here they are, preparing for a World Cup semi-final and, in many quarters, favoured to turn England over.
"The French team is like the weather," said Galthie.
"Sometimes the weather is good and sunny. Sometimes the weather is bad and raining. Sometimes it is raining on our team - but at the moment it is sunny.
"I hope the forecast for Sunday is not too windy and it stays sunny.
"We are happy to be here, we want to do the best. We don't speak about pressure.
"We want to play our best rugby and for us that is the most important objective."
"We will try to put a lot of pressure on (Jonny) Wilkinson. We will have a very high defence."