France coach Marc Lièvremont blamed “schoolboy” errors in defence for his side’s 37-17 World Cup defeat to the All Blacks on Saturday.
New Zealand repelled a strong French start to run in three quick tries which had the match all but won by half-time, when they were 19-3 ahead.
The Six Nations giants grabbed two opportunist tries in the second half, but were unable to get close to the home team who booked their quarter-finals slot with two more tries.
“There are a lot of regrets for me in this match,” Lièvremont said.
“Especially in the first half where we shipped three tries in a fifteen-minute spell because of some terrible defensive mistakes.
“After a good start to the game, we allowed the All Blacks to take control of the match.
“Despite that, my players showed a lot of courage, but then again it was a pity because we got back to a respectable 32-17 only to once again be guilty of some schoolboy-like mistakes.”
Lièvremont came in for some scathing criticism before the match for his team selection which led some observers to say he was happy to lose, on the basis that it would hand the French an easier quarter-final draw.
But he insisted that he had sent out the best team at his disposal to take on the tournament favourites.
“I had hoped that we could stay close to them in the first half, which wasn’t the case, and then boost them by bringing on some top quality replacements,” he said.
“It worked in some ways because the replacements we brought on helped us a lot, but unfortunately the score was too much in favour of the All Blacks by that time.”
He went on to say that physically his players had been up to the task and added that there had been some positive aspects to the game.
“I think for sure that we can say the team made progress. It’s just that in a 15-minute spell we handed the match to the All Blacks,” he added.
French skipper Thierry Dusautoir said that France had allowed the All Blacks too much space to exploit the lane between the rucks and the fly-half position and that they had taken full advantage.
And he insisted that France still had some work to do to qualify for the quarter-finals and a likely match-up with old foes England.
“We have got another match to play next week (against Tonga) and it’s only after that that we can start talking about the rest of the competition,” he said.
how dare you mister lievremont ! i think you are to blame for this not the players and you are the scoolboy coach,you put a ridicule team to play AB and show no respect for this great rugby nation and ritchie 100 game last night ! i think you are a disgrace as a coach and glad after the WRC will have a real coach and know that the players can not wait
September 25, 2011| Flag Comment