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Six Nations 'very important' for World Cup, says France coach Philippe Saint-Andre

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre underlined the importance of this year's Six Nations ahead of the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre labelled the 2015 Six Nations "very important" ahead of this year's Rugby World Cup, with matches against Ireland and Italy of particular importance.

Saint-Andre's team will open their Six Nations campaign with a match against Scotland in Paris on February 7 but their second and fourth fixtures are already a focus for the French coach, as he prepares for the World Cup in September and October.

France will visit Ireland on February 14 and travel to Italy a month later - two of the countries they have been grouped with at the World Cup - and Saint-Andre believes those matches will be critical.

"Six Nations is a still a very important competition for the players, for the crowd, it's a fantastic event and I think that of course for us in the pool stage at the World Cup we have Ireland and Italy and we'll play away against them in the Six Nations," the 47-year-old said on Wednesday.

Saint-Andre added: "I think it's a very important Six Nations just before the World Cup and I think it's very open like each year and we're looking forward to starting this competition at home against Scotland."

France finished fourth last year in Europe's annual rugby championships but just missed out on second as they went down to eventual champions Ireland 22-20 in their final match.

"In the last game against Ireland if we made a kick 22 metres in front of the posts, we finish I think second... but England will have won the Six Nations," Saint-Andre said.

"We missed the kick and we finished fourth, so I think it's also the beauty of this Six Nations: how close it is, how tough it is, and it's not one easy game."

France last won the Six Nations in 2010.

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