Lievremont far from happy with victory
February 14, 2009
France head coach Marc Lievremont could not hide his frustration despite seeing his team kickstart their Six Nations campaign with a 22-13 victory over Scotland in Paris.
Lievremont saw fly-half Lionel Beauxis kick five penalties and convert flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo's try while his team defended well, restricting the Scots to a converted try by Thom Evans and two penalties by Phil Godman.But Lievremont - whose side lost 30-21 to Ireland last weekend - knows there is plenty of room for improvement in many departments after an error-strewn display at the Stade de France.
"We are happy in two respects - firstly there is a satisfaction that we won, secondly France never gave up and continued to fight," he said. "But there were a lot of mistakes that can be avoided. We didn't show our potential and we have to improve in the future.
"I was expecting to have a good victory and spend a nice Valentine's Day evening with my wife but it looks like I will have to spend tonight looking at the video."
Lievremont gave credit to Scotland, who lost their second Six Nations match in six days after their 26-13 defeat to Wales last Sunday. But he admitted his team, who were only 6-3 ahead at half-time, did not help themselves with error after error.
"It was the Scotland we were expecting," he added. "They were looking for revenge, were extremely aggressive and they started the match well, unlike us. We had a few turnovers we couldn't take advantage of. But I am disappointed with our precision and there was a multitude of handling, kicking and positional faults. There is a lot of work to do."
Scotland head coach Frank Hadden felt his team produced an improved display following their opening defeat by Wales, although he admitted too many handling errors and soft penalties had proved costly. But he was also aggrieved by some crucial decisions by referee George Clancy and his team.
Maxime Medard appeared to pass the ball forward as he set up Ouedraogo for the try, and Hadden felt Kelly Brown had a try wrongly disallowed for Scotland following a scrum deep in French territory.
"We talked all week about the need to be brave and we were," Hadden said. "We talked all week about the need to be ambitious and we were. We matched the French with one try each in Paris. We knew there would be some handling errors. Unfortunately we got too many handling errors."
Hadden added: "In our opinion we scored a perfectly good try that was disallowed. And there may have been some doubt over the French try."
Skipper Mike Blair was more forthright. "It was a forward pass when they scored, there's no doubt about that," the scrum-half said.
Hadden also felt Scotland were harshly penalised in some penalty decisions but he admitted they contributed to their own downfall. Beauxis kicked five penalties to prove the difference between the teams.
"Ultimately the penalty count cost us," Hadden added. "We have had a pretty close look at the 13-7 penalty count. We are very disappointed at some of the indiscipline and a bit disappointed at some others."
Hadden also admits the Scotland pack have some work to do, although they were not helped by an early shoulder injury for lock Jim Hamilton. "That's something we'll have a very close look at on the video. We knew the scrummage was going to be tough. We acquitted ourselves well in a lot of scrums but perhaps not so well in others.
"It's certainly something we'll be working on over the next two weeks. If you show a chink of weakness in the Six Nations, teams will take advantage."
Injured prop Euan Murray admitted Scotland were made to pay for basic errors as they crashed to their second Six Nations defeat in seven days.
The Northampton star told BBC1, "There were a lot of positives to come out of it. I thought we played a lot better than last week. Still, there's too many elementary errors.
"The boys played with a lot more confidence, a lot more expansively. Seeing guys like the Evans boys run about, John Barclay played very well; I think a lot of the boys played very well. But you make these mistakes and they cost you dearly. At the end, it was great to see a try and get within 10 points but still it's too far."
On Saturday, New Zealand face the USA in a match that has been 40 years in the making. Tom Hamilton finds the atmosphere building in Chicago
Most modern rugby players will not know the name Ray Williams but they should be eternally grateful to him, writes John Taylor
With the All Blacks playing the USA Eagles this weekend, Craig Dowd says rugby is ready to make a professional breakthrough Stateside
"He had a death stare so you'd know when you were wrong." George Kruis talks about his mentor Borthwick, fly-fishing and his England aspirations