Macron looks to boost France confidence ahead of World Cup

French President Emmanuel Macron, French Rugby Federation President Bernard Laporte and Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu pose for a picture with French national rugby team players ahead of the upcoming Rugby World Cup in Japan, at the National Rugby Center in Marcoussis, south of Paris, France, September 5, 2019. Christophe Ena/Pool via REUTERS

MARCOUSSIS, France (Reuters) - French president Emmanuel Macron paid a visit to Les Bleus before they embark on their Rugby World Cup campaign, looking to boost the team’s confidence ahead of the tournament.

France geared up for the event with victories against low-ranked Italy and Scotland, against whom they also lost in one of three warm-up matches.

“You’re not the favourites, we know it. It’s hurtful, it’s tough. But in sports nothing is pre-written,” Macron told the players on Thursday.

“There’s no need to have a France team winning all their test matches. Have faith in yourselves.

“You wear more than your jersey. It’s the shirt of France and of the whole nation watching you.”

France were drawn in Pool C with Tonga, the United States, England and Argentina -- their first opponents on Sept. 21.

They fly to Japan on Saturday.

Reporting by Kathryn Carlson, writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge