Relieved Laporte unconcerned about lack of tries
23 September 2007, PARIS (AFP) - France's lack of tries compared to the other favourites for the World Cup does not concern their coach Bernard Laporte, who breathed a huge sigh of relief when his side beat Ireland 25-3 on Friday to keep alive their interest in the competition.
23 September 2007
PARIS (AFP) - France's lack of tries compared to the other favourites for the World Cup does not concern their coach Bernard Laporte, who breathed a huge sigh of relief when his side beat Ireland 25-3 on Friday to keep alive their interest in the competition.
The 43-year-old shaven headed bespectacled handler said that it did not require a side to score plenty of tries to secure the William Webb Ellis Trophy as previous winners had shown.
"From what I know, England were crowned world champions in 2003, scoring less tries than all the other major sides," said Laporte, who will become Sports Minister once France's interest in the World Cup is over.
"And also when one looks at South Africa's 36-0 victory over England (Friday week ago), the Springboks scored their tries off moves they had worked on in training.
"They are good in one on ones and doing simple things.
"It is a rugby where one doesn't take unnecessary risks, which is well researched.
"And that works! The proof, they scored 36 points against the English.
"Now I admit it is true that it is vital to find a balance between disciplined rugby and the more creative side of the sport.
"Against Ireland, we decided to carry the ball when we won lineouts because that was what the situation demanded.
"But we showed more ambition when we counter attacked."
Laporte, who was under serious pressure after losing to Argentina in the first match which even raised question marks over whether he would actually take over his ministerial responsibilities, admitted he would have still preferred to have scored a couple of more tries than the two they got against the Irish.
"It would have been better if we had scored two more tries (which would have got them what could turn out to be a crucial bonus point)," said Laporte, who was an uncapped scrum-half with Begles-Bordeaux before becoming a coach and making his name with Stade Francais.
"However, we showed a real willingness to try and create scoring opportunities. Despite this against Ireland, just as we had done in the Argentinian match, there were one or two counterattacking options we should not have taken."
Laporte, who has given the players three days off to be with their families ahead of the final group match with Georgia, though, he admits he will spend most of the time opening his post and focussing on the match, said he had not come upon the ideal starting XV.
"No, I have not decided on the regular team," he said.
"We are looking towards the next match (against Georgia on September 30). And we are forgetting about the others.
"In any case, we said before the beginning of the warm-up camp that 30 players would play a part.
"This squad is fabulous and get on really well together.
"There is respect between the players, who ask us to play them all at sone point or other.
"It is difficult to run the rule over a squad for seven weeks, because those who are dropped can become less focussed and less enthusiastic.
"It is vital to create an atmosphere of competitiveness for places in the team."
Laporte, who is bidding to improve on guiding France to the 2003 semi-finals where they lost to England and he aroused ridicule in the press when he claimed that it was the rainy conditions that cost them the match, said he believed the Irish could arouse themselves from their torpor and beat the Pumas on September 30.
Should the Irish do so and deprive the Argentinians from gaining a bonus point France - with only the Georgians to come for the hosts and a likely bonus point to boot - then the French would top the group and avoid a quarter-final with the All Blacks in Cardiff.
"I believe they can win," sad Laporte.
"To me, Ireland are a better team, but it is always difficult to say.
"The Irish can win if they rediscover their effectiveness and their strength."
Subject: French news