Six Nations

France up for Ireland test

2014-03-09 13:40
Philippe Saint-Andre (File)

Edinburgh - France coach Philippe Saint-Andre backed his side to be a much improved outfit when they face Ireland in a potential Six Nations title decider in Paris.

Replacement scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain's 79th minute penalty saw France to a fortunate 19-17 win away to Scotland on Saturday.

"It will be a different game at home at the Stade de France in front of our crowd," Saint-Andre said.

"We need to start well and accelerate during the 80 minutes but I am sure the guys can do this," the former France captain added.

"The target (against Scotland) was to win, to keep our discipline, keep our composure and we did this during the 80 minutes."

Earlier, Ireland thrashed Italy 46-7 in Dublin as they, like France, made it three wins from four Six Nations matches this season.

Either England or Wales, who play each other at Twickenham on Sunday, are set to join the leaders on three wins barring a draw in London.

Although all three final round fixtures take place on March 15, France and Ireland will be in the privileged position of knowing exactly what they need to do to win the title as theirs is the last match to kick-off.

The game will also have an extra special significance as it is set to be Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll's final Test before the centre's retirement.

"I hope the Brian O'Driscoll party was today in Dublin, not next week at the Stade de France," said Saint-Andre.

Saturday's match in Edinburgh saw France record their first away victory in the Six Nations since they won at Murrayfield two years ago.

France scrum-half Maxime Machenaud kicked three penalties before the break but they still trailed 14-9 at the interval after Scotland scored converted tries through full-back Stuart Hogg and wing Tommy Seymour.

But early in the second half France led when wing Yoann Huget picked off Scotland fly-half Duncan Weir's 'telegraphed' pass and sprinted some 90 metres for an intercept try.

Weir kicked a penalty to nudge Scotland into a one-point lead heading into the final quarter but the drop-goal hero of Scotland's last-gasp win against Italy in Rome then missed with a 44-metre effort.

At 17-16 Scotland were only one lapse away from defeat and it came when, with barely two minutes left, lock Tim Swinson was penalised for not releasing at the breakdown in front of his own posts.

Doussain, on as a replacement for Machenaud, made no mistake and France had their eighth successive win over Scotland.

"It is a good sign how we got back into the game and this win is especially important as it shows we can win away from home," said Huget.

-'Scotland should have won' -

There was some debate about referee Chris Pollock's final penalty award but Scotland coach Scott Johnson was happy to accept the New Zealand official's verdict in that instance.

However, he was mystified as to how Scotland had yet again ended up on the wrong end of a lopsided overall penalty count.

"That's without a doubt my most disappointing day as Scotland coach," said Johnson.

"I'm gutted, absolutely gutted," the Australian added.

"We've got to accept our responsibility for it, and we will, but in a competition as close as this and you're leading the game, and you're down 11-2 on penalty count, I don't know. That doesn't sit well with me.

"This was a game we should have won, I felt we were the better team, no doubt about it.

"Sometimes the scoreboard just doesn't reflect what happens in the contest," insisted Johnson, whose side finish their Six Nations campaign away to two-time defending champions Wales.

Read more on:    six nations  |  philippe saint-andre  |  rugby
NEXT ON SPORT24X

Habana placed on standby

2014-07-22 22:19

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Logs
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team
Vote

Who will win the 2014 Six Nations title?

 
 
Featured Blog

Dave ask if you would like to meet your local sports heroes and stand the chance to win prizes to the value of over R40 000.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.