French determined to deprive Wales

Mon, 12 Mar 2012 00:00
Large 2511 0 0 0 2658492
French coach Philippe Saint-Andre surveyed the ruins of his side's Six Nations title hopes after the 22-24 defeat by England and glumly admitted the only target remaining was to prevent Wales from landing the Grand Slam next weekend.

French coach Philippe Saint-Andre surveyed the ruins of his side's Six Nations title hopes after the 22-24 defeat by England and glumly admitted the only target remaining was to prevent Wales from landing the Grand Slam next weekend.

The 44-year-old, who will have to do without the predatory try-scoring talents of Vincent Clerc who injured a shoulder, said in order to do so they would need to acquire the Welsh habit of being able to win matches in the dying minutes.

"With the Grand Slam gone [after drawing 17-17 at home to Ireland last Sunday] and now no chance of the title our only challenge is to deprive Wales of the Grand Slam," said Saint-Andre.

Saint-Andre, who replaced Marc Lievremont after the World Cup final defeat by the All Blacks, had to watch his side try to overhaul a sizeable deficit for the third successive game.

But having eventually beaten the Scots, and drawn with the Irish, they came up short on Sunday.

Just as against the Irish they had a chance to win the game in the dying seconds.

But just as Lionel Beauxis's woeful effort had missed, so did Francois Trinh-Duc's lamentably short drop-goal.

"Trinh-Duc's was an easier attempt than Beauxis's against Ireland but it seems we can't win in the dying minutes of a match. I hope we can soon," added the coach.

"The Welsh in contrast have a good habit of winning in the dying stages. Against the Irish it was in the last minute and against the English the 77th."

Saint-Andre, who will announce his squad for the Wales game on Monday, said that his side needed to be more clinical when the opportunities arose and be able to switch to defence quickly when a counter attack followed.

"We lack a clinical edge to our play and failure to take our chances costs us dearly," said Saint-Andre, who admitted in a rare moment of humour that perhaps his dumbest error as coach of English side Sale was to convince one of England's try-scorers Ben Foden to choose fullback over scrumhalf.

"They were penalised 11 times, us four times, and they were also reduced to 14 men [Charlie Sharples was sin-binned], but we couldn't score enough points.

"They on the other hand made the most of their turnovers and we were incapable of transforming quick enough from an offensive force into a defensive one and effectively two of their three tries stemmed from counter-attacks."

For man of the match, No.8 Imanol Harinordoquy, the defeat meant perhaps having to adopt in the future the tactics deployed by England, a nation he has said in the past he dislikes intensely.

"It is imperative we learn to play a little like them maybe, to show a more pragmatic approach, to slow the game down and to learn to score points regularly."

Whether Julien Dupuy gets to adjust his strategy in the Wales game is open to question as he and Beauxis had dreadful games at halfback as both started their first international matches since 2009.

Dupuy admitted that he had just not performed.

"One has to be honest, I am at the bottom of the barrel," said the 28-year-old.

"It has been three years since I hadn't started for France. Now I get the chance and it goes really badly. It is tough.

"I don't think I placed too much pressure on myself. There are games like that where things don't go well, it happens. However, now was not the moment for it to happen."


There are currently no matches being played
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Connacht v Zebre 19h35 Ascoli Piceno
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 20h15 AJ Bell Stadium
Sat, 04 March 2017
Hurricanes v Rebels 04h15 Wellington
Highlanders v Crusaders 06h45 Dunedin
Brumbies v Sharks 08h45 Canberra
Sunwolves v Kings 10h55 Singapore
Lions v Waratahs 13h05 Johannesburg
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 15h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Bath v Wasps 15h00 Recreation Ground
Glasgow Warriors v Dragons 15h00 Scotstoun Stadium
Worcester Warriors v Bristol 15h00 Sixways
Stormers v Jaguares 15h15 Cape Town
Cardiff Blues v Munster 17h15 BT Sport Cardiff Arms Park
Cheetahs v Bulls 17h30 Bloemfontein
Leinster v Scarlets 19h35 RDS Arena
Sun, 05 March 2017
Newcastle Falcons v Saracens 15h00 Kingston Park
Mon, 06 March 2017
UP-Tuks v CUT-Ixias 14h45 Pretoria
UKZN-Impi v UWC 16h30 Durban
WSU v CPUT 16h30 Mthatha
Fort Hare v TUT 16h30 Davidson Stadium
NMMU-Madibaz v UJ 16h30 Port Elizabeth
NWU-Pukke v Wits 16h30 Potchefstroom
Shimlas v Maties 17h00 Bloemfontein
Team P W D L Pts
England 3 3 0 0 13
Ireland 3 2 0 1 10
Scotland 3 2 0 1 9
Wales 3 1 0 2 5
France 3 1 0 2 5
Italy 3 0 0 3 0