Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lievremont expects better

Marc Lievremont has painfully recalled France's Twickenham capitulation against England last season, labelling it "a slap in the face".

Les Bleus launch their RBS 6 Nations campaign against Scotland at Murrayfield on Sunday week, with many pundits predicting a two-horse title race between France and reigning champions Ireland but their ability to self-destruct has also surfaced, most recently when England ran riot last year in recording a 34-10 success.

"England is always the match," said France coach Lievremont. "And that is more so this season because of the huge slap in the face we got at Twickenham last year."

He added: "Nothing worked for us that day - it was a disaster. Some losses you can make something out of but not that England one.

"The only positive to come out of that match was the spirit of the players afterwards to put things right."

After a testing opener at Murrayfield, France then host Ireland before travelling to Wales and then finishing with two games in Paris against Italy and England.

Lievremont's preparations, though, have not been helped by a round of French Championship fixtures this week, in contrast to uninterrupted player access enjoyed by the likes of rival Six Nations bosses like England manager Martin Johnson, Wales coach Warren Gatland and Ireland's Declan Kidney.

"The summary of our season to date is that we win one and then we lose one - it never seems to be two or three in a row for us," he added. "But, then again, very few teams manage more than that. We need to focus on the continuity of the French team.

"It is a rarity for me to have nine days to prepare for the first match. When we played South Africa in the autumn, the players had played two club games in close proximity before that match.

"It is crazy in modern rugby to have such constraints and this explains our results a little bit."

Ireland V Wales Hospitality

England V Ireland Hospitality

Italy V England Hospitality

France V Ireland Hospitality

Six Nations Hospitality

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