Top 14 Orange - Newspaper Review
Saint-André pins defeat on referee
Ian Moriarty
January 10, 2011
Toulon's Pierre Mignoni clears under pressure from Racing Metro's Sebastien Chabal, Racing Metro v Toulon, Top 14, Stade Yves du Manoir, Colombes, Paris, France, January 9, 2011
Toulon's Pierre Mignoni clears under pressure from Racing-Metro's Sebastien Chabal © Getty Images

Toulon coach Philippe Saint-André has pinpointed the penalty count against his team as the major reason for their 15-12 Top 14 loss to Racing Metro on Sunday.

Saint André said he was left "disappointed and sad" to lose a match that they led for 65 minutes and laid the blame squarely on the shoulders of referee Cédric Marchat.

"The problem is that when you play a top quality game like that with two disciplined teams and still end up with the penalty count 15-5, it's not possible [to win]," Saint André told l'Equipe.

"But Racing should be congratulated. They played really well. We knew that they'd go at us like that.

"We're looking for consistency. I left the dressing room disappointed and sad. The players don't understand how they lost. In the first-half, we played with a lot of tempo but didn't score enough points. It was a very physical game and the two teams were well organised defensively."

Meanwhile, Stade Francais coach Michael Cheika believes his side may have turned a corner after they handed Toulouse their biggest defeat of the season so far.

The 31-3 win kept the Parisians in the hunt for an all-important play-off place but it was the hunger shown by his men that particularly impressed the former Leinster coach.

"We knew that Toulouse weren't putting out their first team and that they were missing some players," he told La Depeche du Midi. "But they have a list of players that is as long as it is strong so that didn't matter.

"Our team is still a work in progress. This will give our players, who played with real desire, a little bit more belief. Defensively, especially, I thought it was our best performance of the season. With a mentality like that, we can be really competitive."

Elsewhere, Clermont Auvergne scrum-half Morgan Parra has blamed his side's slow start for their 29-22 defeat at neighbours Brive. The Top 14 champions found themselves 10 points down after the first quarter of an hour, hardly the ideal way to start a full-blooded derby match.

"The way in which we started the match was disastrous," he told Midi Olympique. "It was a bit like what happened when we played at La Rochelle, where we also came unstuck.

"When you start like that, it can be almost impossible to recover from it. It's beginning to become a serious problem with all these defeats close to home. So we've got to ask ourselves the right questions, remove the abscess and move forward."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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