Rugby Union: We had firepower to beat Italians, says Lievremont
France may have had problems in the lineout but they discovered the firepower they required to win 25-13.
PARIS, March 10, 2008 - France may have had problems in the lineout
against the Italians in their Six Nations clash but they discovered the
firepower they required to win 25-13, according to coach Marc Lievremont.
The 39-year-old admitted that there had been good things and bad things in
the performance which still gives the French an outside chance of retaining
their title, though they need to beat Grand Slam hopefuls Wales by 20 points
in Cardiff next Saturday.
"Could one say that there was something to drink and to eat in this win?"
pondered Lievremont referring to the good and the bad.
"Yes, maybe! But what I take from this above anything else, is the victory,
two weeks after losing to England (24-13). It is good to bounce back with a
win. Yes, it is true that there was an enormous amount of good opportunities
"In spite of our worries in the lineout, we knew how to dig out our
weaponry to win, but also to outwit the Italian defence."
Lievremont, who has dismissed accusations that he has shown disrespect to
the tournament by radically changing every team he has put out, admitted that
the winless Italians had still caused him some nervous moments.
"I was very apprehensive before the match, because the Italians, even if
they are without a win, had the firepower to cause us problems, especially in
the tackle and an effective defence."
Italy coach Nick Mallett, who was missing the experienced Mauro Bergamasco
after he picked up a 13-week suspension for gouging, was happier with the
team's performance compared to the way they folded against the Welsh in the
second-half of their previous match which resulted in a 47-8 thrashing.
"I am satisfied with the performance of the team as a whole, which is a
long way from what we showed against the Welsh," said the 51-year-old England
born former Springbok coach.
"Our defense was outstanding. Sadly we lacked the cutting edge to finish
off our attacks (Gonzalo Canale being one of the worst offenders dropping the
ball with the tryline beckoning in the first-half as he did against the Welsh).
"Why? Well give me wingers of the physique of 1.90 metres and who run fast,
and you would see. We work with what we have. There that is why we don't score
"We do not possess the players like (Aurelien) Rougerie (who scored a try)
or (Joe) Rokocoko (the All Black winger).
"The Italian players do what they can, but in this sport what makes the
difference is speed."
For France skipper Lionel Nallet there were lessons to be learnt.
"We encountered several problems in the lineout," said the 31-year-old
lock, whose side lost two successive lineouts in the first-half posing a
question about the wisdom of leaving Julien Bonnaire on the bench.
"Firstly because the Italians are strong in that department, but
essentially because we lacked timing in jumping for the ball. It is vital we
take on board these lessons and refocus on this area."