Edinburgh - France coach Guy Noves was left
shaking his head and deriding his players for their stumbling Six Nations
performance on Sunday in the 29-18 loss to Scotland at Murrayfield.
The defeat was the first for France against
Scotland in 10 years and it shattered any hopes they had of denying unbeaten
England the title when the two sides play the tournament finale in Paris in six
"On a purely technical level we were
very poor in this match," the former Toulouse chief said.
"We made far too many faults - between
the handling errors and the number of penalties that we gave away.
"Under these conditions we were not
able to apply any pressure on the Scottish team for any length of time.
"Periodically we played some quality
rugby and scored two tries. But we made too many silly mistakes.
"It's a big let-down for us, but in
some way it reassures me because we did not play at the level we can
The defeat at Murrayfield comes hard on the
heels of the loss to Wales in Cardiff two weeks ago and it underlines the task
facing Noves at a troubled time for French rugby still smarting from the
humiliation at the hands of the All Blacks in the World Cup quarter-finals in
Long seen as a potential French national
coach after his years of success at Toulouse, Noves has made the jump from club
to country late in his career and not everyone is convinced that at 62 he is
the right man for the job, with the next World Cup still over three years away.
Noves, however, insists that patience is
"They are a squad of young players who
are trying to compete at a very high level," he said.
"But we can still make progress
because they are young and because they can move forward together. They are
going to learn and advance. You have to be patient. We have no other
As for the tournament closer next Saturday
at the Stade de France, Noves said that it would be an ideal occasion to finish
the international season in style by denying England the Grand Slam in Eddie
Jones's first year as coach.
"Firstly we must hope that we will
play better than we did today and I don't think that should be too
difficult," he said.
"Even if our opponents will be of a
different (higher) level, I think that the French team will be very eager to
show what they can do because we really did not do that today.
"I hope we can show that we have a
bright future and that these players will put in the hard work and will make
progress in the coming months."