France to banish 2013 nightmares

Wed, 15 Jan 2014 09:15
Large philippe saint andre walks Large philippe saint andre looks Large philippe saint andre france

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre vowed to banish a "difficult" 2013 to history and make this year one of "effectiveness" from his team.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre vowed to banish a "difficult" 2013 to history and make this year one of "effectiveness" from his team.

France's miserable 2013 saw them lose eight out of 11 internationals, winning just two and drawing one.

Their only two victories were home Tests against Scotland (23-16) in March and Tonga (38-18) in November.

But Saint-Andre claims last year was one of transition and that his side is gearing up for bigger and better this time around.

"2013 was a more than a difficult year from a results point of view," he told France Televisions at a presentation event for the Six Nations, which begins next month.

"We embarked on a new cycle, a new generation and the apprenticeship was painful.

"I hope this year will be the year of effectiveness."

France finished bottom of last year's Six Nations championship for the first time and it was their first wooden spoon since the last Five Nations championship in 1999.

But Saint-Andre points to the standard of opposition Les Bleus faced last year as a hint of a silver lining to the dark clouds of 2013.

Four of their defeats came against world champions and undisputed world number ones New Zealand, while they also lost to second-ranked South Africa.

Defeats to fourth-ranked England and sixth-ranked Wales - France are ranked fifth - are also forgivable but the 23-18 reverse away to Italy (13th) is the one result that really sticks in the throat.

"We've got greater aptitude, greater experience. We're lucky to have played four times against the world champions and against South Africa," added Saint-Andre.

"We gleaned experience against the two best teams in the world. Now we have to show that on the field; it's good to battle the best, but it's better to beat them."

France's new season begins with the visit of England on February 1 to the Stade de France in their opening Six Nations match.

And Saint-Andre is fully focussed on ensuring they start the new year with a victory.

"We have two weeks to prepare. Compared to last year, the level of the international players' form is reassuring.

"There's quite a few players in our group of 30 who played very well in the European Cup last weekend.
"That augurs well for the Six Nations."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 29 September 2017
Sharks v Golden Lions 17h00 Durban
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 18h35 Sixways
Newcastle Falcons v London Irish 18h35 Kingston Park
Sale Sharks v Gloucester 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Leinster v Edinburgh 19h35 RDS Arena
Glasgow Warriors v Treviso 19h35 Scotstoun Stadium
Scarlets v Connacht 19h35 Parc y Scarlets
Sat, 30 September 2017
Griquas v Free State Cheetahs 12h00 Kimberley
Leicester Tigers v Exeter Chiefs 13h00 Welford Road
Munster v Cardiff Blues 13h30 Thomond Park
Cheetahs v Ospreys 14h00 Bloemfontein
Northampton Saints v Harlequins 14h00 Franklin's Gardens
Wasps v Bath 14h00 Ricoh Arena
Zebre v Ulster 14h35 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
South Africa v Australia 15h05 Bloemfontein
Dragons v Kings 18h35 Rodney Parade
Sun, 01 October 2017
Argentina v New Zealand 22h30 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Blue Bulls v Western Province 12h30 Loftus Versfeld
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0