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Consistency is the key for Saint-Andre

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has no doubt where one of Les Bleus' biggest battles will lie in this season's RBS 6 Nations Championship - showing consistency.

Saint-Andre's squad have been installed as Six Nations favourites by many pundits on the back of an autumn campaign highlighted by a comprehensive victory over Australia in Paris.

But reproducing those type of performances on a regular basis has often eluded French teams down the years, and Saint-Andre said: "We know the big problem of French rugby is to be consistent. We won four games consecutively in the autumn. This is quite a big event for French rugby, but we would like more and more of this."

He went on: "On our best day we can beat the best in the world - on our worst we can lose to anyone.

"It's a big step this Six Nations because we have three away games. We did well in the autumn, but we were at home. This year is big. We are trying to show how tough we can be mentally and physically away from home."

France will be led into the tournament by Stade Francais lock Pascal Pape, with Saint-Andre giving his 2011 World Cup captain Thierry Dusautoir time to concentrate on playing again following an injury that sidelined him for this season's autumn series.

And Saint-Andre believes Pape has done an outstanding job in the leadership role.

"We won four games consecutively (in November) and Thierry Dusautoir was still injured a few weeks ago with his knee, so I think it was very important to carry on with Pascal as captain," Saint-Andre added. "This also gives Thierry the time to come back and to be 100 per cent and focus on himself and get back into the team.

"I think with Pascal, what you see is what you get. He gelled very well with the young players, the young players respect him and I think he has a lot of charisma. If he asks them to work very hard on the pitch, the guys follow him and I think the spirit in the team is very important.

"Thierry was a fantastic captain also, but Pascal did well on the pitch and I think it was fair to carry on with him."


From Belfast Telegraph