Belfast Telegraph

Monday 1 September 2014

RBS 6 Nations: France coach Philippe Saint-Andre feels punished

Philippe Saint-Andre

Philippe Saint-Andre hopes Brian O'Driscoll's retirement will sway the "god of rugby" back onto France's side next season.

Head coach Saint-Andre branded France's 22-20 Ireland defeat "very cruel", lamenting a try chalked-off for Damien Chouly and Jean-Marc Doussin's penalty miss.

O'Driscoll capped his 141st and final international appearance with Ireland's first win in France since his superlative 2000 hat-trick.

"High-level rugby is very cruel," said Saint-Andre (right).

"No one can say anymore that we don't have an enormous ambition to play the ball.

"In the end it's O'Driscoll that decides the tournament and leaves his last match with the trophy.

"Ireland have improved a lot, because they won the tournament, they play a quick tempo game.

"They've shown a lot of spirit and character throughout the Six Nations.

"Out there they won a very, very tight game. I'm looking forward to playing Ireland next year in the Six Nations.

"Congratulations to Ireland and Brian O'Driscoll.

"Next year Brian O'Driscoll will not be here, so maybe the god of rugby will be on our side."

Saint-Andre took another chance to bat aside recent criticism of his stewardship, claiming France have taken great strides forward since last season's last-place Six Nations finish.

Admitting frustration at France finishing fourth in the standings, he said: "But that's why I was saying it was cruel, because we could have finished second.

"Yes absolutely we have improved, it's a young group, we know there's still room for improvement on small details, and we're really working on it."

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