Mixed feelings for Saint-André

Date published: June 15 2014

France boss Philippe Saint-André admitted to having mixed feelings following his charges' improved performance in defeat to Australia.

France coach Philippe Saint-André admitted to having mixed feelings following their improved showing in defeat to Australia over the weekend.

Les Bleus bounced back from a 50-23 drubbing in the first Test as they held the Wallabies to a 6-0 victory in the pair's second game in Melbourne.

The winning total was the lowest for the Wallabies in 87 years and despite the response from his men, Saint-André felt they could have done better.

“There were two feelings at the end of the match,” he told reporters after the Etihad Stadium fixture.

“First the satisfaction of having met the challenge, without losing any tries, and also there was the feeling that we could have done even better.

“It was a match that was totally different to last week's.

“At the strategic level we were much better organised in defence, we missed far fewer tackles, with 20 missed compared to 35 last week.”

He added: “We had the opportunity to score a try, we missed two penalties and it was 0-0 at half-time and Australia started the second half well, and our discipline was a little bit poor.”

“At least this time we matched Australia and we weren't a sparring partner, but at half-time we should have been seven or 10 points in front.

“As for positional play, we had them in difficulty. We had 24 throw-ins to their nine. We dominated the ping pong game, particularly in the first-half.

“We broke their line nine times and they broke ours four times, but we were not efficient and lost the ball too quickly up front.

“We know we have work to do to get quality ball, quality clearing out and quality passing as well.

“We made them doubt – they had to change almost all their three-quarter line to bring in more experience.”

France supporters were buoyed by the fact they had several of their first-team players in the starting XV for the Melbourne meeting, as outside centre Mathieu Bastareaud and back-row forward Thierry Dusautoir stood out after a long campaign for club and country.

“We should congratulate our players who are at the end of their season. What they gave was good,” said Saint-André.

“(Fly-half) Remi Tales came out as the best tackler in the game. With his defence and the length of his kicking he gave us a breather at times when we needed it.”

And on next week's series finale in Sydney?

“We will see how the players recuperate. The few who have played 80 minutes twice (Guilhem Guirado, Yoann Maestri, Damien Chouly, Wesley Fofana, Yoann Huget) were tired last night, but they have been the most active,” the coach said.

“We will certainly make some adjustments. We'll see what we can do better in three (training) sessions this week.

“We need to bring the same intensity, make them (Australia) doubt themselves even more.

“They will definitely ask different questions because they were not expecting that and we did more than upset them. It will be a fine challenge.”