Six Nations

Six Nations Championship 2014

Coach Saint-Andre confident of France rising to title test against Ireland

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 March, 2014, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 October, 2014, 3:52pm

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre backed his side to be a much-improved outfit when they face Ireland in a potential Six Nations title decider in Paris on Saturday.

Replacement scrum-half Jean-Marc Doussain's 79th minute penalty saw France to a fortunate 19-17 win away to Scotland on Saturday.

"It will be a different game at home at the Stade de France in front of our crowd," Saint-Andre said. "We need to start well and accelerate during the 80 minutes but I am sure the guys can do this.

I hope the Brian O’Driscoll party was today in Dublin, not next week at the Stade de France
Philippe Saint-Andre

"The target [against Scotland] was to win, to keep our discipline, keep our composure and we did this during the 80 minutes."

Either England or Wales, who played each other at Twickenham overnight, were set to join the leaders on three wins barring a draw in London.

Although all three final-round fixtures take place this Saturday, France and Ireland will be in the privileged position of knowing exactly what they need to do to win the title as theirs is the last match to kick off.

The game will also have an extra special significance as it is set to be Ireland great Brian O'Driscoll's final test before the centre's retirement.

"I hope the Brian O'Driscoll party was today in Dublin, not next week at the Stade de France," said Saint-Andre.

At 17-16, Scotland were only one lapse away from defeat and it came when, with two minutes left, lock Tim Swinson was penalised for not releasing at the breakdown in front of his own posts.

"That's without a doubt my most disappointing day as Scotland coach," said Scott Johnson.

"I'm gutted, absolutely gutted," the Australian added.

"We've got to accept our responsibility for it, and we will, but in a competition as close as this and you're leading the game, and you're down 11-2 in the penalty count, I don't know. That doesn't sit well with me.

"This was a game we should have won, I felt we were the better team, no doubt about it."