Planet Rugby

France desperate for victory

11th November 2013 06:15

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Thierry Dusautoir Fra v NZ 2013

Thierry Dusautoir: Expects victory soon

France captain Thierry Dusautoir admitted the search for a victory has become a desperate affair for les Bleus.

Although they played valiantly and with both pride and passion, France ultimately came up short again on Saturday at the Stade de France as New Zealand continued their perfect record in 2013 with a 26-19 success.

It was a far better performance from Philippe Saint-Andre's team than their previous eight outings this year but they remain stuck on a solitary victory in nine Tests, with one draw and seven defeats.

And although he said there were a lot of positives to be gleaned from such a performance, Dusautoir emphasised they simply had to start winning games.

"In top level sport it's always urgent," said the 31-year-old flanker.

"With a few more wins we would be under less pressure but would we have improved?"

"I wouldn't know right now what the best situation would be. Wins bring you serenity.

"Right now it's difficult because we're not winning but this team is building up character.

"Very few teams have matched the All Blacks like that recently.

"We have to keep clawing away at the gap that separates us until we beat them, because it will come if we continue like this.

"It's tough but there's only one way: keep working hard."

France largely controlled the first half and had several interesting breaks without managing to breach their opponents' try-line.

They turned around level 9-9 at the break when arguably they should have been in front.

Twice the All Blacks broke quickly down the left wing and with the French half a step too slow to react and cover the danger, New Zealand clinically scored two tries.

But the pride of the home nation shone through as they pulled back one score and then came perilously close to adding an equalising try late on.

"We're very disappointed but we also have huge desire to keep working hard and improving.

"We've shown some very interesting things. We gauged ourselves against the best. We saw we weren't quite yet at their level but that we could seriously put them in doubt.

"We have to keep that in mind and keep working. What's certain, though, is that this group has great mental strength, which I already saw in June."

Next up France will play Tonga in Le Havre and there is history in that clash too as Les Bleus tumbled meekly to their opponents 19-14 in the group stages of the World Cup in 2011, although that result didn't prevent the French from reaching the knock-out stages and eventually going on to give New Zealand a huge scare in the final where they lost 8-7.

"It will be a peculiar match because the French (public) will expect a lot from us after the last clash which didn't go our way, and because we've just put in a huge performance this weekend," said Dusautoir.

"I feel this team can do great things but now we have to win matches. Everyone is waiting for that, us above all and I'm sure it's just around the corner."

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