Leadership not an issue – Guitoune

Date published: March 4 2015

France aren't lacking leadership despite successive losses to Ireland and Wales according to winger Sofiane Guitoune.

The Bordeaux-Bègles flyer made his return to the national set-up in the loss to the Welsh at the Stade de France on Saturday, a fourth straight for les Bleus against Warren Gatland's men.

Philippe Saint-André has now used 81 players since taking over in 2012, leaving Thierry Dusautoir and Morgan Parra as the only players with 50 caps in the side in Paris.

But despite the lack of experienced leaders in the group, Guitoune believes the problems are more to do with France's inability to hold onto the ball.

"I don't think (lack of leadership) is the problem," he told Rugbyrama.

"There are some good players, we trust each other as a group. You don't need someone to tell you what to do here and there, we're all capable of taking decisions. The problem isn't there. 

"The problem is our first half, where we couldn't hold the ball for more than 15 seconds. In the Top 14 it's difficult if you don't hold onto the ball for 15 seconds, at international level, there's no way back.

"It's complicated. We're trying, we're putting everything into it but at the weekend it's more difficult. We'd worked well during the week. Everyone says that but it's the truth.

"We had to relax but we weren't able to do it in the first half. We lost the ball after one or two phases, it's difficult to get your game going. In the first half I was frustrated, I touched the ball twice, that wasn't the plan.

"I think a lot of it is psychological. It's about the decision-making. They rushed up very quickly so maybe kicking the ball was a good idea, but we weren't accurate enough. When we got over the gain-line, we lost the ball almost immediately, it made it difficult to go through the phases.

"We've got no choice, we have to get moving otherwise there will be changes. We need to give it everything and stop thinking."