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Mixed feelings from Saint-Andre after loss

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre had mixed feelings about losing to Australia on Saturday

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Article Published: Monday 16 June 2014|

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France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said that he had mixed feelings over the way that France were resolute and fought back but lost 6-0 to the Wallabies in Melbourne.

Australia won the series having won two out of three Tests but the match was anything but entertaining and was described as "ping pong" rugby by Saint-Andre.

A total of 68 kicks at the expense of taking risks by running the ball.

It was the Wallabies' lowest winning total in 87 years against all-comers and the first time the French have finished a Test without a point in 44 encounters with Australia.

Saint-Andre, who reacted forcibly by making 10 team changes after the 50-23 first Test hammering in Brisbane the previous week, was in two minds over his team's latest loss to the Wallabies.

"There were two feelings at the end of the match," the coach told reporters.

"First the satisfaction of having met the challenge, without losing any tries, and also there was the feeling that we could have done even better.

"It was a match that was totally different to last week's.

"At the strategic level we were much better organised in defence, we missed far fewer tackles, with 20 missed compared to 35 last week."

Saint-Andre could even point to a couple of missed scoring opportunities which could have led to Les Bleus winning their first Test in Australia since 1990.

"We had the opportunity to score a try, we missed two penalties and it was 0-0 at half-time and Australia started the second half well, and our discipline was a little bit poor," he said.

Sloppy handling also contributed to France's downfall with a total of 24 lost possessions, nine of them through insecure handling.

"At least this time we matched Australia and we weren't a sparring partner, but at half-time we should have been seven or 10 points in front," Saint-Andre said.

"As for positional play, we had them in difficulty. We had 24 throw-ins to their nine. We dominated the ping pong game, particularly in the first-half.

"We broke their line nine times and they broke ours four times, but we were not efficient and lost the ball too quickly up front.

"We know we have work to do to get quality ball, quality clearing out and quality passing as well.

"We made them doubt -- they had to change almost all their three-quarter line to bring in more experience."

Saint-Andre praised the contributions of giant centre Mathieu Bastareaud and flanker Thierry Dusautoir, with the inspirational skipper getting through 66 minutes in only his sixth game this year.

"We should congratulate our players who are at the end of their season. What they gave was good," he said.

"(Fly-half) Remi Tales came out as the best tackler in the game. With his defence and the length of his kicking he gave us a breather at times when we needed it."

Saint-Andre anticipates making some further team changes as France try to finish the series with victory in Sydney next weekend.

"We will see how the players recuperate. The few who have played 80 minutes twice (Guilhem Guirado, Yoann Maestri, Damien Chouly, Wesley Fofana, Yoann Huget) were tired last night, but they have been the most active," he said.

"We will certainly make some adjustments. We'll see what we can do better in three (training) sessions this week.

"We need to bring the same intensity, make them (Australia) doubt themselves even more.

"They will definitely ask different questions because they were not expecting that and we did more than upset them. It will be a fine challenge."

 
 
 
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