France Rugby
Lievremont wants France to adapt
ESPNscrum Staff
October 27, 2010
France coach Marc Lievremont is caught on camera, France training session, Marcoussis, France, March 17, 2010
Marc Lievremont wants France to embrace the way rugby is being played © Getty Images

Marc Lievremont believes his France team need to embrace the new interpretations at the breakdown if they are to succeed at next year's Rugby World Cup.

The way the breakdown is being refereed revitalised the Tri-Nations and speaking ahead of the November internationals, Lievremont said they will change the way international rugby is played. But the man who led Les Bleus to the Grand Slam in 2010 has warned that the adaptations will work in favour of World Cup hosts New Zealand next year.

France face Argentina, Fiji and Australia over the four weeks of internationals and Lievremont is keen to see how his side adapts.

"I have never seen rugby change so much in a year," he told Reuters. "If you take the Tri-Nations as the barometer of international rugby, it was day and night between 2009 and 2010 in terms of rhythm, tries scored, balance between kicking and handling.

"I like that new style compared to the padlocked game of 2007. The problem is that this new style of play suits the All Blacks perfectly. It's their game, their tradition. I was impressed by the game they developed in the Tri-Nations with the new rules. I don't think that for the time being we can match them physically and technically in terms of rhythm and individual enterprise."

But, typically of a man from the country that haunts New Zealand at World Cups, Lievremont remains positive that while the Blacks will be strong, they will not be unbeatable. Twice in the World Cup, France have knocked aside New Zealand when the All Blacks were touted as hot favourites, in a 1999 semi-final at Twickenham - a match Lievremont played in - and the 2007 quarter-final at the Millennium Stadium.

"Fortunately, in our sport, there isn't a team that is unbeatable on one day," he added. "They are a cut above the rest but at the same time, it's not new. If the world title was awarded on merit or according to consistency in results, they would have been crowned every time.

"New Zealand and Australia are a step ahead of us because our championship is too conservative to let us benefit from the new rules but I'm sure we can adapt. The November internationals will be a good opportunity. We'll go crescendo with a first game against Fiji, then Argentina and the Australia test will be a very interesting and very important game."

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