French are back on World Cup track says Laporte

17th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 September 2007, PARIS (AFP) - Hosts France are very much back in World Cup contention after their record ever international victory of 89-10 over 14-man Namibia claimed their coach Bernard Laporte here on Sunday.

17 September 2007

PARIS (AFP) - Hosts France are very much back in World Cup contention after their record ever international victory of 89-10 over 14-man Namibia claimed their coach Bernard Laporte here on Sunday.

The embattled 43-year-old handler - who has been subjected to negative headlines during the week over both the opening defeat to Argentina and about his controversial business dealings - was a relieved man as France ran in 13 tries.

They included three by Vincent Clerc - who was as hot as his favourite band The Red Hot Chili Peppers - aand two apiece to Jerome Nallet and cult hero Sebastien Chabal.

"I believe we have rediscovered the pleasure of playing," said the 43-year-old.
 
"We played rugby, okay I am not saying in relaxed mode, but with enthusiasm and the pleasure we demanded from the players."

Laporte admitted that the sending-off had helped.

"We had five good minutes early on and the red card followed quickly afterwards which helped us in our task but the overall impression is satisfying."

However, Laporte - whose side will still have to defy the odds and become the first winners of the William Webb Ellis Trophy after losing their first match - admitted that there had still been an edginess and a touch of uncertainty prior to the match.

"You just never know in this type of match, one can attack everywhere like savage dogs and then get hit by a counterattack. We have arrived at the World Cup at last, but now the hardest bit remains," added Laporte, referring to next Friday's clash with Six Nations Triple Crown winners Ireland where defeat for France would almost certainly see them exit at the first stage.

Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, France's captain for the night as regular skipper Raphael Ibanez was on the bench, scored 27 points in a standout performance but the ever humble Toulouse star put a realistic spin on the win.

"I am satisfied but I would put this victory into its real context.

"We have won against a bunch of amateurs, who gave life and limb during the match, and who were only 14 for most of that (after the sending-off of Pierre Nieuwenhuis in the 20th minute).

"So lets get real and put it into its context, even if we did achieve our aim," added the scrum-half.

Clerc for his part admitted he had been itching to get involved.

"I really had ants in my legs," said Clerc, who broke Irish hearts earlier this year when his last ditch try robbed the men in green of essentially the Grand Slam.

"We really needed to get back to our style of play against the Namibians that we didn't do against Argentina.

"We also needed to score as many points as possible and tries and we achieved all those aims," he added.

Laporte's Namibian counterpart Hakkies Husselman said his team had faced an impossible task and had done well to keep the score under 100.

"After 20 minutes, we were down to 14," said Husselman, who at 34 is the youngest coach at the tournament.

"No matter who the team, they would have finished up with a result like we did.

"The score could have been 120-0. It was very hard for us. However, the French still made quite a few errors, but they managed to score a lot of tries (13)," added Husselman, who played for Namibia at the last World Cup.

For Namibian captain Kees Lensing it was clear as to whom between France and Ireland (who beat them 32-17 last Sunday) would emerge victorious next Friday.

"The French are a better team than Ireland if they play like that," said Lensing.

"If they keep on playing to this level and intensity, they can go a long way."

AFP

Subject: German news

0 Comments To This Article