We are bruised but not broken, says Laporte

9th September 2007, Comments 0 comments

MARCOUSSIS, France, Sept 9, 2007 (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte has admitted that he and his side were badly bruised by their shock opening 17-12 defeat to Argentina but were certainly not a broken squad.

MARCOUSSIS, France, Sept 9, 2007 (AFP) - France coach Bernard Laporte has admitted that he and his side were badly bruised by their shock opening 17-12 defeat to Argentina but were certainly not a broken squad.

Laporte believes the hosts can still progress from the Pool D Group of Death, where Triple Crown winners Ireland still await them, to the last eight.

"I don't know if it is the most disappointing defeat of my career," said the former Stade Francais handler, who took the French to the 2003 World Cup semi-finals where they lost to England.

"It could be the most difficult because it was only on Friday. We are feeling slightly bruised but we are not broken.

"It was a bad defeat. No-one was expecting it, least of all us.

"It is vital after that, to digest it and get off on the right foot with  enthusiasm.

"If we win the three remaining matches added to our bonus point, we will qualify. We have less cards in our hands, but we still have some."

While Laporte said he would not single out individuals to blame for the below-par performance, he was critical of the much-vaunted back division where his controversial choice of winger Cedric Heymans at fullback spectacularly backfired. 

"Unfortunately, behind the pack, we were unable to make the most of the pack's domination, all the good ball we received, we did not know how to impose our game against an aggressive Argentinian defence," said Laporte.

"In the backs they dominated us. Their fly-half and centre combination were better than ours (David Skrela, Yannick Jauzion and Damien Traille).

"It leaves a bitter taste and regrets because we said Argentina would dominate us up front, but in fact it was our forwards who did what was necessary," added Laporte.    

Laporte said there would be no recriminations on a personal level.

"We will try and reassure them.

"It isn't a question of blaming Peter, Paul or Jack. It is true that we perhaps didn't do enough to lift the pressure on them (Skrela, Jauzion and Traille) and didn't talk to them enough.

"Maybe they were overawed by the Agustin Pichot/Juan Martin Hernandez partnership as we have been talking them up all year."

AFP

Subject: French news

0 Comments To This Article