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Saint-Andre: I will not quit France
ESPN Staff
March 10, 2013
France's Louis Picamoles secures the ball as Ireland's Keith Earls is bundled into touch, Ireland v France, Six Nations, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland, March 9, 2013
France drew 13-13 with Ireland on Saturday © PA Photos
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Players/Officials: Philippe Saint-Andre
Tournaments/Tours: Six Nations
Teams: France

Philippe Saint-Andre has denied that he will step down as head coach of France if they finish at the foot of the Six Nations.

France were pre-tournament favourites but have just one point to their name after four games following their 13-13 draw with Ireland on Saturday. Les Bleus could yet finish with the wooden spoon and their form is a far cry from the style of rugby they were playing during the autumn internationals where they defeated Australia, Argentina and Samoa.

Before their match with Ireland, Saint-Andre said he would "accept responsibility" for France's performance if they finished at the foot of the championship, but he has moved to clarify his meaning. "I will of course, as is my nature, assume total responsibility and take the blame for the campaign," he said. "However, I am here till 2015 and I will not be leaving. Quite the contrary.

"I would ask of you not to take three words from a sentence and give them a meaning that is not intended. The federation and the committee director gave us a target to prepare for 2015. We will continue to work towards that objective.

"I take the responsibility because I have always done that, I have never tried to shift it on to others in my career. Rugby at the highest level is to be a competitor. The more difficult it is the more I like it. That is to say that whether there is a defeat, a draw or a victory I will shoulder the responsibility because I do not want to expose my players or staff to danger."

And Saint-Andre believes that France's impressive showing during the autumn internationals has created unrealistic expectations.

"You can't murder the players now when in November you made them out to be better than they were," he said. "However, even in the worst-case scenario they are not as bad as people are saying they are. We were always very restrained about where we were, we knew that the margin between victory and defeat is very narrow."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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