Saint-Andre: I'm not leaving

Sun, 10 Mar 2013 16:59
Large philippe saint andre 630 Large ireland v france3 Large ireland v france

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre came out fighting on Sunday, insisting he was staying on as originally planned until the 2015 World Cup.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre came out fighting on Sunday insisting that despite a dreadful Six Nations campaign, he was staying on as originally planned until the 2015 World Cup.

The 45-year-old, who replaced Marc Lievremont after the 2011 World Cup, defended his record saying that it was a work in progress.

Saint-Andre was speaking the day after his side had earned their first point of the tournament fighting back from a 13-3 half-time deficit to draw 13-13 with Ireland.

The draw, however, sees the French needing realistically to beat Scotland at home in their final match next Saturday - a draw could suffice depending on other results - to avoid finishing bottom of the table for the first time since 1999.

Despite this and the fact that France under Saint-Andre are on a seven-match winless run in the Six Nations, equalling the record of their 1926-27 predecessors, the former France captain remained defiant.

He was especially incensed by remarks he made on Thursday and which had been taken out of context to imply that he would step down if they lost to Ireland.

"I will of course as is my nature assume total responsibility and take the blame for the campaign," he said.

"However, I am here till 2015 and I will not be leaving, quite the contrary.

"I would ask of you not to take three words from a sentence and give them a meaning that is not intended.

"The Federation and the committee director gave us a target to prepare for 2015. We will continue to work towards that objective.

"I take the responsibility because I have always done that, I have never tried to shift it on to others in my career.

"Rugby at the highest level is to be a competitor. The more difficult it is the more I like it.

Saint-Andre, who had set France's target at the outset of the tournament to better their fourth placed finish under him last year, also mounted a sterling defence of his players.

"You cannot murder the players now when in November, you made them out to be better than they were," he said.

"However, even in the worst case scenario they are not as bad as people are saying they are.

"We were always very restrained about where we were, we knew that the margin between victory and defeat is very narrow."

Saint-Andre, who said the fact only seven players remained from the 2011 World Cup squad illustrated how much work there was to be done on honing the present squad into winners, also took issue with former France coach Bernard Laporte.

Laporte, who succeeded Saint-Andre as head coach of Toulon, has been critical of the France coach in the past fortnight.

Laporte said Saint-Andre's complaint of there being too many non French players in key roles at the clubs - especially at flyhalf - was undermined as it was he who had brought players such as former England great Jonny Wilkinson to Toulon.

"My policy having been France captain [34 times in his 69 Tests] and played for France has been to never criticise the French team," he said referring to his having avoided comment during Laporte's spell in charge from 1999-2007.

"Others obviously have different principles. I have certainly learnt over this Six Nations who my real friends are."

Saint-Andre said he hoped at least to bow out with a win against Scotland.

"I want us to play like we did in the last 40 minutes against Ireland and to give the French fans at home something to smile about," he said.

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 28 April 2017
Highlanders v Stormers 07h35 Dunedin
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 18h05 Cardiff
Edinburgh v Dragons 18h35 Myreside
Leinster v Glasgow Warriors 18h35 RDS Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Worcester Warriors 19h00 Kingston Park
Sat, 29 April 2017
Chiefs v Sunwolves 07h35 Hamilton
Reds v Waratahs 09h45 Suncorp Stadium
Force v Lions 11h55 Perth
Ospreys v Ulster 14h00 Liberty Stadium
Bath v Gloucester 14h00 Recreation Ground
Exeter Chiefs v Northampton Saints 14h00 Sandy Park
Saracens v Bristol 14h00 Allianz Park
Harlequins v Wasps 14h00 Twickenham Stoop
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Cheetahs v Crusaders 15h15 Bloemfontein
Treviso v Munster 17h05 Stadio Monigo
Kings v Rebels 17h30 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Connacht v Scarlets 18h35 Sportsground
Jaguares v Sharks 19h40 Buenos Aires
Sun, 30 April 2017
Brumbies v Blues 06h05 Canberra
RESULT SCORE
Sun, 23 April 2017
Clermont Auvergne v Leinster 27 | 22
Sat, 22 April 2017
Sharks v Rebels 9 | 9
Bulls v Cheetahs 20 | 14
Munster v Saracens 10 | 26
Force v Chiefs 7 | 16
Crusaders v Stormers 57 | 24
Highlanders v Sunwolves 40 | 15
Fri, 21 April 2017
Lions v Jaguares 24 | 21
Waratahs v Kings 24 | 26
Hurricanes v Brumbies 56 | 21
Mon, 17 April 2017
UP-Tuks v Maties 28 | 21
Sun, 16 April 2017
Bristol v Wasps 21 | 36
Northampton Saints v Saracens 25 | 27
Sat, 15 April 2017
Connacht v Leinster 24 | 37
Treviso v Edinburgh 21 | 6
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 5 4 0 1 19
Ireland 5 3 0 2 14
France 5 3 0 2 14
Scotland 5 3 0 2 14
Wales 5 2 0 3 10
Italy 5 0 0 5 0