Saint-Andre: France to bounce back

Mon, 04 Feb 2013 08:29
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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said it's back to the drawing board ahead of their date against Wales in Paris.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said it's back to the drawing board ahead of their date against Wales in Paris after Italy kicked their Six Nations Grand Slam hopes into touch with an impressive 23-18 win on Sunday.

Les Bleus' last visit to Italy, in March 2011, ended in a 22-21 defeat at nearby Flaminio Stadium and handed the Azzurri their first ever Six Nations win over France.

Two years on, Jacques Brunel's steadily improving side put in a strong, convincing display that should send future opponents rushing to study video footage.

"The Grand Slam is lost, not the tournament. Now we have to turn our attention to Wales before they come to Paris next week," said Saint-Andre, who was quick to congratulate Italy's performance.

"You have to says hats off to Italy," added Saint-Andre. "They're 10th in the (world) rankings, they're improving all the time and today [Sunday] they simply deserved to win."

After a promising November Test series produced three wins over Australia, Argentina and Samoa, France were regarded as tournament co-favourites along with England.

But at the Olympic Stadium, and with Italy desperate to build on some strong performances of their own from November, against Australia and New Zealand, the hosts had other ideas.

Italy went 7-0 up after seven minutes when captain Sergio Parisse touched down for a try and Luis Orquera, who went on to kick ten points, converted.

France battled back on 11 minutes when Louis Picamoles scrambled over for the try, only for fly-half Frederic Michalak to miss the conversion.

It was the first of several errors that would prove costly for the visitors.

Crucially, France then spurned the chance to add another five-pointer when Wesley Fofana's off-load to the unmarked Fulgence Ouedraogo on the right went into touch.

France fought back to take a 15-13 half-time lead after Benjamin Fall's 33rd minute try and a conversion from Michalak, who had also scored a penalty just before the half-hour.

But the visitors ultimately failed to finish off the job when in try-scoring positions in the second half.

Notably, scrumhalf Maxime Machenaud was stopped by Italy's defence when less than 10 metres from the tryline after a superb run through midfield.

The subsequent counter-attack led to Italy's second try from Martin Castrogiovanni, who powered over after taking Orquera's superb pass.

"We lacked in terms of precision, we gave the ball away too often and didn't take the chances we had to pull ahead when we had the chance to," lamented Saint-Andre.

"We had the chance to score a try through Maxime Machenaud but instead of building on that we let Italy counter."

Orquera added the conversion and then his replacement, Kris Burton, provided what turned out to be the match-winning drop goal in the 68th minute.

After the stadium erupted, the Italians were ecstatic at having transformed recent promise into a result that will do wonders for their confidence in their remaining four fixtures.

"It's a very important for us, especially as it confirms what we showed in November," said Parisse.

"It's important to back these kinds of performances up with real results. We wanted to win today [Sunday], and that's what we did. We didn't change a thing, maybe we've simply become conscious of what we're capable of."

With the Scots up next for Italy at Murrayfield next Saturday, Brunel however was keen to keep everyone's feet on the ground.

"I liked a lot of what I saw today [Sunday]. But now we have to look forward," said the Frenchman.

"Everyone says Scotland are not a great team at the moment but they are a hard team to play against, especially at Murrayfield, and last year they gave a lot of teams problems."

AFP

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Saracens v Sale Sharks 12h45 Allianz Park
Exeter Chiefs v Newcastle Falcons 13h00 Sandy Park
Northampton Saints v Worcester Warriors 13h00 Franklin's Gardens
Ireland v France 16h50 Aviva Stadium
Stormers v Bulls 17h30 Cape Town
Sun, 26 February 2017
Bristol v Bath 11h00 Ashton Gate
Wasps v Gloucester 12h30 Ricoh Arena
Treviso v Connacht 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Zebre v Ulster 12h30 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 13h05 Liberty Stadium
England v Italy 15h00 Twickenham Stadium
Mon, 27 February 2017
UCT-Ikeys v Maties 14h45 Cape Town
UWC v TUT 16h30 Cape Town
UP-Tuks v Wits 16h30 Pretoria
CPUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Cape Town
CUT-Ixias v UJ 16h30 Bloemfontein
Rhodes v Fort Hare 16h30 Grahamstown
Shimlas v NWU-Pukke 17h00 Bloemfontein
Thu, 02 March 2017
Force v Reds 10h30 Perth
Fri, 03 March 2017
Chiefs v Blues 06h35 Hamilton
Ulster v Treviso 19h35 Kingspan Stadium
Edinburgh v Ospreys 19h35 Myreside
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
RESULT SCORE
Sat, 25 February 2017
Cheetahs v Lions 25 | 28
Waratahs v Force 19 | 13
Crusaders v Brumbies 17 | 13
Sunwolves v Hurricanes 17 | 83
Fri, 24 February 2017
Munster v Scarlets 21 | 30
Dragons v Leinster 22 | 54
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 17 | 18
Harlequins v Leicester Tigers 18 | 27
Reds v Sharks 28 | 26
Highlanders v Chiefs 15 | 24
Thu, 23 February 2017
Rebels v Blues 18 | 56
Tue, 21 February 2017
CUT-Ixias v Shimlas 13 | 22
Mon, 20 February 2017
UJ v UP-Tuks 18 | 11
Maties v NMMU-Madibaz 35 | 16
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16 | 10
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 2 2 0 0 8
Ireland 2 1 0 1 6
Wales 2 1 0 1 5
France 2 1 0 1 5
Scotland 2 1 0 1 5
Italy 2 0 0 2 0