Rugby Union

France's second-half display eases Philippe Saint-Andre's anger

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France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre declared himself happy with Les Bleus' 38-11 win over Romania, despite ripping into his players at half-time.

Television cameras, allowed inside the changing rooms at the Olympic Stadium, showed Saint-Andre reading the riot act after Romania had won more possession, territory and turnovers in the opening 40 minutes.

Two late tries from Sofiane Guitoune and Yannick Nyanga gave France a 17-6 lead at the break before three more scores from Guitoune, Wesley Fofana and Gael Fickou sealed the bonus-point win.


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The French, however, who go top of Pool D, will have to improve if they want to overcome better opposition and Saint-Andre explained his angry words at the interval.

"You don't often see me like that because normally there's no cameras," Saint-Andre said.

"I told them if the ball carrier has trouble fighting because the ball is not passed properly, it is difficult to play rugby.

"That is what I was telling them. They have to be right there to receive the ball and efficient in clearing the breakdown. We had to be more efficient and quicker.

"Romania were very clever, they didn't want more than two or three phases and they were very solid in impact and we had to wait half an hour to put speed in our game.

"But then we were able to go forward and score five tries. Don't forget we changed 13 players.

"It is complicated to have a four-day rest period. All the teams today who played four days ago had difficulty.

"We fought a lot in these two matches - you cannot ask a boxer to fight in two matches as quickly as we do."

France move four points clear of Ireland in the group, having played a game more, and despite two unspectacular displays, nine points represents a solid start ahead of next Thursday's clash against Canada.

"We've reached our objective which was to win and take the bonus of five points," Saint-Andre said.

"After two matches in four days, we have two wins, nine points, the whole squad has taken part and we have no more injuries."

Romania have never made it past the pool stages of a World Cup in seven attempts, but the Oaks played with enough power and purpose to suggest they could cause Ireland problems at Wembley on Sunday.

Valentin Ursache scored a consolation try late on and they could have had two more, had the TMO not ruled one out in each half.

"Realistically it was about stopping France playing the quick, wide game they want to play," Romania's Welsh head coach Lynn Howells said.

"You could see by the amount of subs that were used that once the game had got away from us it was about getting players off and after the game we're pretty lucky.

"There's no injuries and it's about recovery and making sure I have a full squad.

"The expectation against the Irish team is the same as against France - we want to go out and prove we can compete against these teams.

"And for 60 minutes today we showed we can compete. If you ask me what I'm looking for against Ireland, it's more of the same but less points."

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