London - Guy Noves believes France must become
"killers" in the Six Nations if they are to turn narrow defeats into
November saw France edged out by both Australia and world
champions New Zealand in Paris, 'Les Bleus' going down 25-23 to the Wallabies
before the All Blacks won 24-19.
Now they face a tough start to the Six Nations, away to
defending Grand Slam champions England at Twickenham on February 4, but France
coach Noves reckons his side are "not that far" from their opponents.
"Our expectations this year are to build a team that
continues to improve constantly, to get closer to our opponents," said
Noves at the Six Nations tournament launch in London on Wednesday.
"Last year we had matches we lost that we could have
won, and vice versa," he added of a Six Nations where France finished
second bottom - only above winless Italy - following three successive defeats
in Noves's first campaign in charge.
"We're not that far from our opponents, but we must be
"We cross the advantage line more than others, but we
do not score, we don't achieve really, so the ratio is not very good.
"We have to try to reverse this ratio, and we must be
killers in some areas so that we can chase wins."
And for Noves that means demonstrating greater composure
when in sight of the try-line.
"We evolved during the Six Nations but also in the
autumn against Australia and New Zealand," he said.
"And some areas, it was the last two or three metres
where we missed.
"What I mean by killers, I want my players to finish
the actions they've started.
"We're beyond halfway through this development, but now
we have to be more consistent, more clinical and be able to finish our
England coach Eddie Jones said France were "going
extremely well, adding they "should have beaten Australia and could have
beaten New Zealand".
Meanwhile Dylan Hartley, the England captain, was wary of
their all-round threat, even though his side beat France 31-21 in Paris last
year to clinch the Grand Slam.
"They are huge blokes and love a scrum, love a
maul," said the hooker.
"Then you look at their back-line. They can be very
direct but they can play either way - a tight, slow set-piece or an
unstructured, fast game.
"We've got to be able to play both and make sure we
play the way we want to play."