Fiji Time: 8:34 AM on Tuesday 3 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Picamoles back for France

Afp
Saturday, March 15, 2014

PARISP - Coach Philippe Saint-Andre volunteered yesterday to be the scapegoat for France's much criticised performances as he brought back powerhouse Louis Picamoles for the Six Nations rugby decider against Ireland.

France faced a torrent of criticism following their insipid 19-17 win over Scotland last weekend, on the back of a limp effort in losing 27-6 in Wales two weeks earlier.

"There is frustration over the last match," acknowledged the coach, who made four changes for the team to play tomorrow.

But Saint-Andre said the critics should halt their attacks on his players.

"What happens on the outside is not important. If I have to be the scapegoat, then no problem. But let the players do their work," he said, before reminding everyone that he does not have a full-strength squad.

"When you realise how many important players are out injured, there are six, seven, eight. And yet we still see this group improving, picking themselves up and still being in a position to win the Six Nations.

"We're doing a lot better than last year at this point. Then we had three defeats and a draw, now we have three wins."

Saint-Andre has recalled Picamoles, who was left out last weekend as punishment for having sarcastically applauded referee Alain Rolland after being sent to the sin bin against Wales in Cardiff.

But the coach sprang a surprise by making him blindside flanker, leaving Damien Chouly at No.8 for the second match in a row.

The other main change was the decision to give teenage centre Gael Fickou only his second start.

The 19-year-old Toulouse back scored the dramatic late try that beat England in France's opening Six Nations clash, just minutes after entering the fray.

And Saint Andre is banking on his talent alongside Mathieu Bastareaud, with usual first choice Wesley Fofana still out injured.

"He is in form, he is fast," said Saint Andre.





Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Two appear in court
  2. A-G: Don't interfere
  3. Officers detain international fugitive
  4. No fear or resistance
  5. Government plans to reduce unemployment rate
  6. Police arrest 6 on drug-related charges
  7. $1.6m budget
  8. Landowning unit to benefit from development
  9. State to reduce debt
  10. PAC: Talk to us

Top Stories this Week

  1. Porn search: Fiji in top ten Friday (27 Feb)
  2. Dead in early morning plunge Friday (27 Feb)
  3. Wife's sorrow Wednesday (25 Feb)
  4. Body find shocks duo Thursday (26 Feb)
  5. 3 walk free Thursday (26 Feb)
  6. A mother's anguish Wednesday (25 Feb)
  7. Humongous sized lemon Thursday (26 Feb)
  8. Qiliho: RFMF's role is defined Wednesday (25 Feb)
  9. Leap of faith Monday (02 Mar)
  10. ITaukei torture cases Thursday (26 Feb)