Rugby Union: The Irish made us suffer admits Lievremont
Irish made Six Nations titleholders France suffer admitted their coach Marc Lievremont following their nerve-wracking 26-21 victory at the Stade de France.
PARIS, February 11, 2008 - The Irish made Six Nations titleholders France
suffer admitted their coach Marc Lievremont following their nerve-wracking
26-21 victory at the Stade de France.
The 39-year-old added that despite the nervy second-half performance which
saw the Irish storm back from 26-6 down to press the French until the end that
his side would be the stronger for it.
"I think this will be good for the players," said Lievremont, who was hired
after the World Cup when Bernard Laporte stepped down.
"It is good to win after suffering like that."
Lievremont, who was a member of the France side that reached the 1999 World
Cup final which lost to Australia, was still proud of his players, even though
their scrum was largely inferior to the Irish one in the second-half
especially when prop Julien Brugnaut came on.
"We were largely dominant," said Lievremont, who has started in winning
fashion with wins over Scotland and the Irish.
"We ran the match well but the final run-in we did suffer. Nevertheless we
showed courage and defended our line well.
"I am very proud of the players. They will have learnt a lot from this game
and withstood a lot of pressure in the final 10 minutes.
"There were excellent tries and great team spirit but I guess as a coach
you always need more and want more," added Lievremont, who has made radical
changes to the side since taking over as he builds towards the 2011 World Cup.
France captain Lionel Nallet admitted it had been tough but paid especial
credit to winger Vincent Clerc, who once again proved the thorn in Ireland's
side as he scored three tries in the first-half - taking his tally to six
against them in the last three tests.
"It's enormous," Nallet said of Clerc's haul.
"It is a great achievement to score three tries in a Six Nations match
particularly against a side as good as Ireland.
"However, overall it was a very good all round team performance. It was
hard but important to undergo 20 minutes of suffering.
"But yes I was scared in those minutes."
Nallet, who was a surprise choice for the captaincy when Lievremont named
him, said that the spirit showed by the players would stand them in great
"I asked the players to dig deep.
"I said to them, 'There are five minutes left. Lets be courageous and keep
our hands on the ball."
Nallet admitted, though, that the whole experience had been exhausting.
"We were falling back everywhere I looked. It was mentally very difficult
and it makes you so tired.
"The Irish are a very good team. We kept losing the ball.
"Once they have the ball they are dangerous."
For Lievremont though there was a definite positive - result apart - to
take into the rest of the campaign.
"It is a good lesson for the future.
"It will be good for the state of mind of the squad."