Saint-Andre: France to bounce back

Mon, 04 Feb 2013 08:29
Large philippe saint andre looks Large italy celebrate2 Large france v italy Large italy celebrate Large philippe saint andre 630

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

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 21 April 2018
Crusaders v Sunwolves 07h35 Christchurch
Reds v Chiefs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Bulls v Rebels 13h05 Loftus Versfeld
Leinster v Scarlets 14h30 Dublin
Sharks v Stormers 15h15 Durban
Zebre v Ospreys 16h45 Parma
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 17h05 Kingspan Stadium
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Sun, 22 April 2018
Brumbies v Jaguares 06h05 Canberra
Racing Metro v Munster 14h15 Paris
Fri, 27 April 2018
Munster v Ulster 22h00 Thomond Park
Worcester Warriors v Harlequins 22h00 Sixways
Wasps v Northampton Saints 22h00 Ricoh Arena
London Irish v Saracens 22h00 Madejski Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons 22h00 Welford Road
Gloucester v Bath 22h00 Kingsholm
Exeter Chiefs v Sale Sharks 22h00 Sandy Park
Kings v Cheetahs 22h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Treviso v Zebre 22h00 Stadio Monigo
Dragons v Scarlets 22h00 Rodney Parade
Edinburgh v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Myreside
Cardiff Blues v Ospreys 22h00 Cardiff Arms Park
Connacht v Leinster 22h00 Sportsground
Hurricanes v Sunwolves 07h35 Wellington
Stormers v Rebels 13h00 Newlands
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
Ireland 5 5 0 0 26
Wales 5 3 0 2 15
Scotland 5 3 0 2 13
France 5 2 0 3 11
England 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 1