Rugby: It's up to you, Laporte tells France

6th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

MARCOUSSIS, France, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte has told his players that the country's World Cup destiny lies in their hands.

MARCOUSSIS, France, Sept 6, 2007 (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte has told his players that the country's World Cup destiny lies in their hands.

Laporte added that he was relying on his team's veterans, such as captain Raphael Ibanez and former skipper Fabien Pelous, to 'drive the bus' when they open their campaign against Argentina at the Stade de France on Friday.

"We have always talked with the players. It's imperative that it continues," said Laporte, who guided France to the semi-finals in 2003 where they lost to eventual champions England.

"In any case we (him and manager Jo Maso) have said to the players: 'It is your team, your story', because unfortunately we cannot be on the pitch with them.

"I say unfortunately because the most beautiful thing is being on the pitch. In important matches it is always the team leaders who step up to the plate.

"We are going to let them take the reins, whether it be Raphael (Ibanez), Fabien (Pelous) or Pierre (Mignoni), or some of the others who hold positions of responsibility.

"We are going to leave them to drive the bus. They will be on the pitch and will have the choices to make."

Laporte, who will become the French government sports minister after the World Cup, added that it was crucial the team gave a good account of themselves.

"I hope we are ready," said Laporte.

"In any case, we are confident. This match surpasses the sport of rugby. The World Cup is a huge event, and for us a great competition.
 
"The entire world is going to be focussed on France, their eyes fixed on our country.

"And we must show to the 19 other teams that the French are interested in the competition. It is for that reason we have asked the French supporters to bring something blue on Friday."

Laporte said he expected a tough battle with the Pumas, who have beaten the French on four of their last five meetings.

"I think that the Argentinians will be true to their reputation, which is strong up front and with their kicking game," he said.

Laporte was philosophical about entering his last tournament as coach.
 
"I am serene enough. The squad are ready and I'm not anxious it is the end."

AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article