Laporte left ruing 'lack of juice' after defeat

14th October 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte was left bemoaning his side's "lack of juice" after their 14-9 rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to old rivals England.

PARIS (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte was left bemoaning his side's "lack of juice" after their 14-9 rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to old rivals England.

France battled past tournament favourites New Zealand in the quarter-finals, making a staggering 178 tackles in the shock 20-18 win, and Laporte said his players had faced the English on Saturday short of some gas in the tank.

"We lacked a bit of juice compared to the previous match," said Laporte, who will now leave his job as coach to take up the post of junior sports minister in the French government.

"It seemed as if there were a little lack of juice to create the difference, to bring a little bit more rhythm," he said of a nail-biting game that opened with a Josh Lewsey try in under two minutes.

The match at the Stade de France turned with six minutes to go, replacement hooker Dimitri Szarzewski came in rashly with a high tackle on Jason Robinson, and Jonny Wilkinson made no mistake with the simple penalty from in front of the posts.

Just three minutes later, Wilkinson found himself in the pocket after a solid drive by the English forwards, and slotted a magnificent 35-metre drop-goal to break French hearts.

"We folded a litle under the English hits," acknowledged Laporte. "They really are big men and we didn't feel that we could create a break at any given moment, although we enjoyed a lot of possession."

The French gameplan against England has come under fire, the deep kicking game not producing the same results as against the All Blacks, who were more than willing to try to counter-attack.

The experienced English side, however, were content to kick the ball back to France and wait patiently for the mistakes to come.

England will now face the winner of South Africa v Argentina in Paris on Saturday. France take on the loser in the third-place game on Friday.

AFP

Subject: French news

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