• Novès tempers expectations

    New French coach Guy Novès has lamented the lack of preparation time ahead of the team’s Six Nations opener against Italy on 6 February.

    Novès has taken over from Philippe Saint-André, who endured a tumultuous time in charge of Les Bleus, which culminated in an embarrassing 62-13 quarter-final defeat to the All Blacks at last year’s World Cup.

    There are understandably hopes that Noves will help return French rugby to its former glory days, but the experienced coach intimated that he wasn’t overly excited by the prospect of beginning his new tenure.

    ‘I can wait … I’m not a young debutant,’ he told AFP. ‘I’d prefer to be three months out to be able to say that we’ve got more time to prepare for this match. We’re trying to mobilise the players for this match and we’ll try to meet the expectations of those who picked us.’

    Novès said he was looking for an attitude shift from his players.

    ‘It’s about giving your best from the first to the last minute, almost without worrying about the result, the points scored and conceded. It’s about taking to the pitch with one single desire: push your own machine to its extremes for 80 minutes. It’s about showing the French public they can be proud of their team.’

    Photo: Pascal Pavani/AFP Photo

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    Craig Lewis