New Zealand 8-7 France, Rugby World Cup, October 23, 2011
Dusautoir proud in defeat
ESPNscrum Staff
October 23, 2011

France skipper Thierry Dusautoir could not hide his disappointment following their Rugby World Cup Final loss to New Zealand.

The 29-year-old flanker claimed the Man of the Match award at Eden Park and scored his side's second-half try, but France came up short as Tony Woodcock's score and a penalty from Stephen Donald proved decisive in an 8-7 win.

"It's a real pity. We are really disappointed," he said. "I am really proud of my boys and what they did in the World Cup," he said. "We lost two games in the Pool and we came to the final. It's good for New Zealand and good for the country, but I am really disappointed."

France made their intentions clear before the start, making a v-shaped formation to face New Zealand's traditional pre-match Haka, and then marching on their opponents. By crossing the halfway line - which is against tournament protocol - France could face a £10,000 fine, but it laid down a marker that they were never going to take a backwards step.

"At one point, we were so close to them that they wanted to kiss the New Zealanders, but I told them to take it easy," Dusautoir said. "It was a great moment and a great story."

France boss Marc Lievremont, in his final game as coach, admitted his pride after a difficult tournament. The former Test flanker will be imminently replaced by ex-Toulon boss Philippe Saint-Andre.

"It is tremendously sad, but I am tremendously proud of the players," he said. "We said the All Blacks were the best team in the world. Today, the French team was great. The players made many promises to themselves, and I think they kept them. We felt we were right in the match at half-time, and the second-half was one-way traffic."

Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili concurred with his coach's sentiments. He said: "We thought before the game that we should give everything so that we would not have any regrets. It was close. We stuck together. We are disappointed we did not make it, but we are proud of ourselves."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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