Novès content with French start

Date published: February 6 2016

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France head coach Guy Novès wanted more pace from his side after their narrow 23-21 win over Italy in Paris.

A late penalty from Jules Plisson was ultimately the difference at the Stade de France as Italy constantly put pressure on les Bleus throughout the contest.

Happy enough with the win, Novès also knows there is plenty to work on for France as they attempt to rebuild following the Rugby World Cup.

"Despite a very short training period ahead of the game, we managed to win and with a very refreshed team; the boys showed a lot of enthusiasm," Novès told reporters.

"However, we did not always play with a clear head and there were no rhythm changes. We did not play fast enough.

"I had the feeling that players aged between 20-29 were actually 35; we'll have to talk about this.

"It's good to take risks but you have to be intelligent, too. Find the balance between the will to play and managing the game."

Focusing on individuals, Novès stated that number eight Louis Picamoles will not be fit to face Ireland next weekend, whilst singling out Sevens convert Virimi Vakatawa after he scored on his Test debut.

"He suffered a tear in his right thigh, he's out for the moment," revealed Novès.

"[Vakatawa] lived up to our expectations. He shook his opponents, he did not overthink it for his first (France) game. I hope he will continue to improve."

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