Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Saint-Andre rues 'stupid' mistakes

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre was left to reflect on Les Bleus' lack of discipline after another RBS 6 Nations campaign hit the buffers.

Wales' 20-13 victory in Paris effectively rendered French title hopes redundant and will inevitably increase the pressure on Saint-Andre.

Although France began their international season by beating Australia, they now appear in free-fall following losses to Argentina, Ireland and Wales.

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny punished French indiscretions by booting five penalties, while French goalkickers Camille Lopez and Morgan Parra could only deliver a combined 50 per cent success rate.

If, as looks likely, France finish outside the Six Nations' top three this term, it will be the fourth successive season for that scenario to unfold.

"Even if we tried to do things, we took too long to get our game going," Saint-Andre said. "You can't spend all your time defending in international rugby.

"The only thing we can do now is lift our heads and work. We were lacking too much to win the game. We gave away incredibly stupid penalties.

"You can't say we are a great team at the moment. Some of our players struggle to last 80 minutes, and we know that.

"You have to congratulate Wales. They were pragmatic, and we are not at the moment."

France have struggled for fluency and accuracy throughout their Six Nations campaign, scoring just two tries in three games and offering little to suggest that they will be a World Cup force later this year.

"I'm not going to say we are a great team," Saint-Andre added.

"Against Scotland, we dominated but we only won by a small margin. Against Ireland, we dominated the last 30 minutes but we failed to score. We lacked discipline."

The French sense of frustration, meanwhile, was underlined by Parra and centre Mathieu Bastareaud, who made an early appearance off the bench as replacement for an injured Remi Lamerat.

"We understand that people are wondering what is going on," scrum-half Parra told the L'Equipe newspaper on Sunday.

"We must continue to produce and impose sequences in games. We know we can do it."

And Bastareaud added: "I do not like to lose. It hurts, because it is in front of our families, our audience.

"There is a lot of frustration that builds up for everyone - players, staff and fans. We have to raise our heads and work hard."


From Belfast Telegraph