Saint-Andre calls for improvement
February 4, 2012
Julien Malzieu shone for Les Bleus © Getty Images
France kick-started their 2012 Six Nations with a four-try victory over Italy but coach Philippe Saint-Andre has sounded a note of caution to his side ahead of next week's clash with Ireland.
Tries from Aurelien Rougerie, Julien Malzieu, Vincent Clerc and Wesley Fofana was enough to give Saint-Andre a winning start as coach of Les Bleus but Saint-Andre wants to see an improvement against the Irish next Saturday in the Stade de France.
"It's good to win but there is a lot of room for improvement," Saint-Andre said. "We will have to play at another level against Ireland next week. On the plus side, we scored four tries, we were disciplined and we did not a concede any try. On the negative side, we should gain more possession, we lacked aggression, especially at the beginning."
The Italians dominated possession but failed to turn it into points while the French edged the scrum - a facet of the match that Saint-Andre was pleased with. He said: "We were very, very good in the scrum at some moments. We won two of them when they had the put-in, but at some other moments, our scrum was slightly below average."
France would have had last year's historic loss to the Azzurri on their minds and captain Thierry Dusautoir echoed his coach's statements by calling for more next week. Dusautoir said: "We are happy we took our revenge, but we will have to be much better next week."
The match gave Italy boss Jacques Brunel the first chance to see his side in action after the former Perpignan coach replaced Nick Mallett as head honcho of the Azzurri. And he was pleased with certain aspects of his side's play. "We are trying to infuse the team with a new spirit," Brunel said. "We are on the right track, but we have to be realistic, we need to make progress. Dominating is not winning."
Italy skipper Sergio Parisse admitted that his side were always going to be under-dogs but called on his charges to improve their execution against England next week. "We did not have a lot of time to prepare and we were facing the World Cup runners up at home. It was almost impossible," the No.8 said. "We dominated possession but we failed to score a try. France did the exact opposite."
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