Laporte looking for France to rediscover their joie de vie

14th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

14 September 2007, PARIS (AFP) - France's underfire coach Bernard Laporte said on Friday he hoped the French team would rediscover their joie de vie on the pitch this Sunday against plucky part-timers Namibia.

14 September 2007

PARIS (AFP) - France's underfire coach Bernard Laporte said on Friday he hoped the French team would rediscover their joie de vie on the pitch this Sunday against plucky part-timers Namibia.

There has not been much to laugh about since they lost their opening match to Argentina and they are looking to get their campaign for a first ever World Cup title back on track against Namibia before the crucial match with Six Nations Triple Crown winners Ireland on September 21.

Laporte, who has come under the microscope this week with comments abut his business interests and severe criticism of his getting one of the players Clement Poitrenaud to read to the team prior to the Pumas match the last letter by a French resistance fighter during World War II just prior to when he was shot by the Germans, said some of that happiness had returned on the training ground.

"It's true... I hope that we are going to rediscover it," said Laporte, who steps down after the World Cup and will become Sports Minister.

"In any case we have seen it return on the training ground.

"The joy of playing is there. However, we experienced something which took away the joy and the pleasure (the Argentine defeat).

"It is vital we regain that feeling which we had in the warm-up matches (they won all three)

"It is imperative we rediscover our enthusiasm. Were we affected by the defeat? I would be lying if I said otherwise.

"There are four group matches, we have lost one. We have to win the three others," added Laporte.

Laporte, who was at odds with several of his senior players earlier this week when he refused to select them for the starting XV against Namibia despite them saying they wanted to play, insisted that there was going to be no change to their strategy.

"Letting the players dictate matters on the pitch is nothing new and wasn't just unique to the Argentinian match, but something we have done for a long time," said Laporte, who guided France to the 2003 World Cup semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions England.

"The team performs well because the players are responsible.

"We are going to continue on the same path.

"We are not going to start questioning everything we have put together. We are not lunatics. We think our method is a good one, and so we are going to continue with it.

"For Sunday's match, Jean-Baptiste (Elissalde) will be captain, but there will be two other captains, Raphael (Ibanez) and Fabien (Pelous) (both on the bench despite asking to play) to accompany him.

"Perhaps we will talk to the players to reassure them, I don't know.

"We will see how things go. We will maintain our pre-match routine from four years ago, the debriefing on the eve of the match, the discussions, and the handing out of the team shirts.

"But that is not what is going to decide whether we win or lose. The truth will be on the pitch."

AFP

Subject: French news

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