France full-back Thomas Ramos said it was “too early” to claim his side were favourites for next year’s Rugby World Cup after Saturday’s win over holders South Africa in Marseille.
Les Bleus, the World Cup hosts, edged the Springboks 30-26 to claim a 12th straight victory in a run including successes against the likes of New Zealand, Australia last week and world number one ranked side Ireland.
Ramos’ side kick the tournament off on September 8 by facing three-time winners the All Blacks.
“I don’t know if we’re favourites for the World Cup but of course it’s good to beat teams like that before playing a big competition,” Ramos told reporters
“When you get to a competition like a World Cup, everything is back to square one at the start of the competition.
“To say we’re favourites is a bit early but we’ll play the World Cup with ambition and objectives,” he added.
Ramos’ side finish their Autumn Nations Series campaign next Sunday against Japan, who lost to England earlier on Saturday, but will be without three frontline members of their squad.
Captain and World Rugby player of the year Antoine Dupont is set to be banned after being shown a red card during the Springboks win.
Prop Cyril Baille has undergone a hernia operation, centre Jonathan Danty has a fractured eye socket and lock Thibaud Flament suffered a concussion after a brutal affair at the Velodrome.
“I don’t think we’ll have many changes in the team. We’ll be able to name a serious team,” Ramos said.
“We saw that Japan found it hard in the afternoon. I’m certain they’ll be different next week.
“It’s for us to recover, prepare well because it would be silly to spoil the two wins over Australia and South Africa in that match,” he added.
– Circled in the calendar –
During this November, 27-year-old Ramos has started two straight Tests for just the second time in his 19-cap international career, benefitting from an injury to regular France full-back Melvyn Jaminet.
“It’s cool to be able to string matches together especially against teams like that at the top level,” Ramos, who spent a season with second-tier Colomiers, said.
“I’m very happy. It’s not perfect, personally, but it remains positive for the two games I’ve played.
“I have to continue and I hope to play well next week,” he added.
Ramos will be among a host of Toulouse players back in their home city for the fixture against the Brave Blossoms next weekend.
“I can’t wait to play in Toulouse,” Ramos said.
“I have to admit when the game was at Toulouse, I circled it in the calendar hoping to be able to play it. I hope to have the chance to start.
“I think all the Toulouse players can’t wait for next weekend,” he added.