Saint-Andre calls for foreign cut

Sun, 24 Feb 2013 12:30
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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre repeated his call for a cut in the number of foreign players in French rugby after a 23-13 loss to England.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre repeated his call for a cut in the number of foreign players in French rugby after a 23-13 loss to England left his side rooted to the foot of the Six Nations table.

Although a team showing seven changes and a positional switch from the one beaten by champions Wales produced a much improved performance at Twickenham, they couldn't prevent pre-tournament favourites France suffering a third straight defeat.

This latest reverse meant Les Bleus had lost their opening three matches for the first time in the Six Nations, something no France side had experienced in Championship terms since an equally poor start to the 1982 Five Nations.

A superb solo try by Wesley Fofana, moved back into the centre from the wing, helped France into a 10-9 interval lead, with recalled scrumhalf Morgan Parra kicking a conversion and a penalty.

However, Parra missed penalties either side of half-time and England, thanks to a try from Manu Tuilagi, saw the Grand Slam chasers establish a decisive seven-point lead.

Early on, France flyhalf Francois Trinh-Duc, in for Frederic Michalak (who later came off the bench), produced some neat touches.

But with the likes of England great Jonny Wilkinson as well as fellow overseas flyhalves Juan Martin Hernandez, James Hook, Brock James, Luke McAllister, Paul Warwick, David Kirkpatrick, Gavin Hume and Felipe Contepomi all operating in France's Top 14, with Ireland's Jonathan Sexton set to join Racing Metro next season, Saint-Andre made no apologies for flagging up an issue he also raised during Les Bleus' victorious November campaign.

"We need to be careful about our league and leave some space for French players," he said.

Reflecting on the match, Saint-Andre said France had paid the price for failing to take their chances.

"England were very pragmatic. They didn't do amazing things but they were very, very accurate," said the former France wing, who scored one of the greatest tries ever seen at Twickenham back in 1991, albeit in a 21-19 loss.

"We had an opportunity at 10-9 to go four points in front and I think England were not as confident as they were the game before. But when we have the opportunity we need to finish it."

It was a point echoed by France captain Thierry Dusautoir, who said: "We made far too many mistakes and that was inexcusable.

"With seven minutes to go we were only seven points behind but we committed another mistake and they [England] scored a penalty and it was beyond us."

Meanwhile a frustrated Fofana added: "I don't know what happened. In the first half we played well and communicated and the second half we were completely the reverse. Nothing worked."

A visibly depressed Saint-Andre insisted: "We are very sad but we know this team has a lot to bring and that each game will be better and better.

"The young players need to learn. The taste of losing is terrible but they must keep this in their mouths and work to improve and be more professional in everything - fitness, skills and diet - because at the high level, you win or you lose on small details.

"At the moment small details are not on our side."

Saint-Andre said a final quarter where England's replacements outplayed their French counterparts had been key to the outcome.

"We expected a little bit more of our bench. We also need to respect the ball more. So many times we tried to offload when it was impossible and we lost too many balls in the contact area.

"For a lot of guys this was the first time they played at Twickenham. I just hope they will learn a lot about this game and what's important for us is to build a squad for the next World Cup."

AFP
 

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Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 20h15 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 13 February 2016
Treviso v Cardiff Blues 12h30 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
France v Ireland 14h25 Paris
Sale Sharks v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 AJ Bell Stadium
Northampton Saints v London Irish 15h00 Franklin's Gardens
Worcester Warriors v Bath 15h00 Sixways
Gloucester v Harlequins 15h00 Kingsholm
Wales v Scotland 16h50 Cardiff
Sun, 14 February 2016
Italy v England 14h00 Rome
Saracens v Wasps 16h00 Allianz Park
Munster v Ospreys 17h00 Irish Independent Park
Mon, 15 February 2016
NMMU-Madibaz v Maties 14h45 Port Elizabeth
CUT-Ixias v UCT-Ikeys 16h30 Bloemfontein
UKZN-Impi v Fort Hare 16h30 Pietermaritzburg
TUT v UWC 16h30 Pretoria
UP-Tuks v Shimlas 16h30 Pretoria
NWU-Pukke v UJ 17h00 Potchefstroom
Thu, 18 February 2016
TUT v UKZN-Impi 16h30 Pretoria
Fort Hare v Wits 16h30 East London
Fri, 19 February 2016
Zebre v Leinster 22h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 12 February 2016
Scarlets v Edinburgh 22 | 21
Newcastle Falcons v Leicester Tigers 26 | 14
Leinster v Zebre 52 | 0
Ulster v Glasgow Warriors 13 | 10
Thu, 11 February 2016
Dragons v Connacht 21 | 26
Mon, 08 February 2016
UCT-Ikeys v Shimlas 17 | 23
UJ v NMMU-Madibaz 19 | 12
Maties v CUT-Ixias 40 | 0
UWC v UKZN-Impi 13 | 24
Wits v TUT 53 | 0
UP-Tuks v NWU-Pukke 15 | 38
Sun, 07 February 2016
Ireland v Wales 16 | 16
Exeter Chiefs v Saracens 11 | 14
London Irish v Worcester Warriors 20 | 13
Sat, 06 February 2016
Scotland v England 9 | 15
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 1 1 0 0 2
France 1 1 0 0 2
Ireland 1 0 1 0 1
Wales 1 0 1 0 1
Italy 1 0 0 1 0
Scotland 1 0 0 1 0