Planet Rugby

Saint-André to banish "difficult" 2013

14th January 2014 13:43

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SKY_MOBILE Philippe Saint Andre France

Positive: Saint-André

France coach Philippe Saint-André has vowed to banish a "difficult" 2013 to history and make this year one of "effectiveness" from his team.

A dismal 2013 saw France lose eight out of 11 game, winning just two and drawing one.

Their only two victories were home Tests against Scotland in March and Tonga in November.

But Saint-André claims last year was one of transition and that his side is gearing up for bigger and better this time around.

"2013 was a more than a difficult year from a results point of view," he told French Television at a presentation event ahead of the Six Nations.

"We embarked on a new cycle, a new generation and the apprenticeship was painful.

"I hope this year will be the year of effectiveness."

France finished bottom of last year's Six Nations Championship for the first time and it was their first wooden spoon since the last Five Nations championship in 1999.

But Saint-André points to the standard of opposition Les Bleus faced last year as a hint of a silver lining to the dark clouds of 2013.

Four of their defeats came against world champions and undisputed world number ones New Zealand, while they also lost to second-ranked South Africa.

Defeats to fourth-ranked England and sixth-ranked Wales - France are ranked fifth - are also forgiveable but the 23-18 reverse in Italy (13th) is the one result that really sticks in the throat.

"We've got greater aptitude, greater experience. We're lucky to have played four times against the world champions and against South Africa," added Saint-André.

"We gleaned experience against the two best teams in the world. Now we have to show that on the field; it's good to battle the best, but it's better to beat them."

France's new season begins with the visit of England on February 1 to the Stade de France in their opening Six Nations match.

And Saint-André is fully focussed on ensuring they start the new year with a victory.

"We have two weeks to prepare. Compared to last year, the level of the international players' form is reassuring.

"There's quite a few players in our group of 30 who played very well in the European Cup last weekend.

"That augurs well for the Six Nations."

  • RBS Six Nations Fixtures
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FixtureDetails
All times are local
RBS Six Nations
Friday , February 6
Wales vs England20:05
Saturday , February 7
Italy vs Ireland14:30
France vs Scotland17:00
Saturday , February 14
England vs Italy14:30
Ireland vs France17:00
Sunday , February 15
Scotland vs Wales15:00
Saturday , February 28
Scotland vs Italy14:30
France vs Wales17:00
Sunday , March 1
Ireland vs England15:00
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RBS Six Nations Table
PosTeamPPts
1Ireland58
2England58
3Wales56
4France56
5Scotland52
6Italy50