Missed chances frustrating France

Date published: February 4 2017

France prop Uini Atonio bemoaned the number of chances his side failed to capitalise on in their defeat to England.

The better side for large portions of the match at Twickenham, France had a number of outstanding performers including Louis Picamoles and Scott Spedding.

However despite a number of clean breaks France failed to put opportunities away – a problem head coach Guy Novès highlighted before the start of the Six Nations.

“We worked hard on the week and to drop the ball two or three metres before the line is pretty frustrating,” Atonio said.

“You can’t take anything away from the English defence. They have a good record so it was always going to be tough to come and win here.”

Picamoles was named Man of the Match despite ending up on the losing side, and Atonio suggested that his recent move to Northampton Saints had played a part in his performance.

He’s a good player. He’s come over here to the Premiership and he knows how it works, the English rhythm,” he explained.

“I think tonight he showed that he’s one of the go-forward people and hopefully he continue to be during the whole Six Nations.”

France went ahead 16-12 thanks to Rabah Slimani’s try but even with that lead and their tails up Atonio admitted that England never felt out of the contest.

“We felt that we could do something, but we didn’t feel that we had them on the back foot,” Atonio added.

“The first half was really right, 9-9. It was always going to come down to those last three points to win the game, but unfortunately it was for them.”

Despite another defeat, France’s third in a row to Australia, New Zealand and now England, the tighthead prop added that les Bleus were progressing as a unit under Novès.

“Hopefully. We’ve changed since Philippe Saint-André with our game-plan. We’re happy with the progress the boys are making hope it continues.”


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