Rugby World Cup
France players left 'embarrassed' by huge quarterfinal defeat
Robert Bartlett
October 18, 2015
New Zealand answer their critics

CARDIFF, Wales -- France were left to reflect on an "embarrassing" World Cup quarterfinal defeat to New Zealand as head coach Philippe Saint-Andre's tenure ended in disastrous fashion.

The All Blacks put in a near perfect performance in their 62-13 victory at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday to notch a record ninth successive Test win against Les Bleus, with it setting up a tantalising semifinal clash with South Africa next weekend.

It marked the highest ever points total that France have conceded in a Test international, bringing a sour end to a turbulent four years under the stewardship of Saint-Andre.

© Stu Forster/Getty Images

"Obviously we're hugely disappointed to finish our World Cup like that. To lose by 60 points [sic] in a quarter-final is a bit embarrassing. There's not much to say in the changing room," fullback Scott Spedding said afterwards.

New Zealand 62-13 France (Australia only)

"We've worked really hard for almost four months to get here. There's not one guy who's taken any shortcuts. We've put everything into this and for it to finish like this is massively disappointing. I think it will take a while to get over this.

"There's not too many positives to take out of that. There were a lot of French supporters who made the trip and we had a lot of supporters behind us this week. We let a lot of people down and we're going to have to take responsibility for that. I suppose life in rugby can be difficult at times."

Alongside the arrival of new coach Guy Noves will come the inevitable dissection of what went wrong in England. Amid the build up to Saturday's clash in south Wales, France captain Thierry Dusautoir was forced to deny reports of a player revolt against Saint-Andre.

However, their showing in Cardiff was disjointed and, after a promising start to the match, they eventually succumbed to the brilliance of a next level New Zealand. The performances of Dan Carter and Julian Savea in particular did little to ease the pain.

© Stu Forster/Getty Images

Wing Brice Dulin said: "It's a question of recovering four years. We came here as a big nation in the World Cup. But the result is there. It is clear. We are a little adrift.

"I can't explain it now. I just don't know. It is the accumulation of four years which meant we could not compete in a match like that. There is something wrong but I cannot say what.

"Four years is about half of a sporting career. I didn't come here to play a match like that, well two matches like that if we speak of the Ireland match too. It is a shame. We are not used to having two matches in a row like that, with those errors. There is a great deal of disappointment.

"We are also sorry for the players in their later career who deserved better. For the supporters too, people who have made sacrifices and saved and made a great deal of effort to come here and support us and give us their energy."

© Robert Bartlett

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