Six Nations Championship
Poitrenaud pleads for patience
February 15, 2009
France fullback Clement Poitrenaud prepares to speak to the media, Marcoussis, south of Paris, January 26, 2009
Clement Poitrenaud has called for patience from France's fans © Getty Images

France fullback Clement Poitrenaud has called for the nation's rugby fans to give the stuttering national side time in order to fulfil their potential. France scraped past Scotland in an error-ridden performance at the Stade de France on Saturday, losing the fluency that appeared in patches during their opening Six Nations loss to Ireland at Croke Park on February 7.

Coach Marc Lievremont is attempting to imbue his French side with a new attacking philosophy, but with their accuracy letting them down time and again against Scotland there were frustrated faces around the Stade de France as Lionel Beauxis kicked the side to victory.

"In the Bernard Laporte era, we didn't play much but when we won matches, nobody could find a fault with it," said Poitrenaud. "Now we have the ambition to practise ambitious rugby and you have to give us some time. And there is also the reality of competition.

"Therefore you have to put some things to one side in order to win and get some confidence. We are doing that and we knew how to do it here. We are a team in construction and we are trying, but we are caught between wanting to do things and not wanting to expose ourselves too much so we can win. It isn't easy."

France skipper Lionel Nallet has admitted that many of the side are struggling with the new attacking style, so at odds with the ground-and -pound of the Top 14.

"We have to find this equilibrium," Poitrenaud added. "We are a little bit reserved because we know we can do better, that we must do better and that we have to go one better to beat teams of another calibre. We put ourselves under a lot of pressure during the week and technically there were a lot of mistakes.

"We have kept the essentials of a strong defence and scrum but we haven't been able to exploit the good positions we created in attack. I hope we can free ourselves to find the right middle ground between our inefficiency of Croke Park and the limited play we practised here, even though we won."

Scotland felt aggrieved due to an apparent forward pass from wing Maxime Medard in the build up to flanker Fulgene Ouedrago's try, and flanker Kelly Brown believes that he should have been granted a try by referee George Clancy.

Brown appeared to have scored after prop Allan Jacobsen tackled France scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde following a five-metre scrum. Clancy whistled for offside and denied Scotland the try.

"My take it on it was 'Chunk' (Jacobsen) went through when the nine had hands on the ball, and I picked up and went over," said Brown. "The referee called it offside against Chunk. It was a close call.

"We didn't have the sort of preparation that some of the other teams had and it's going to take us a while to get going in the championship, but I think we're certainly further down the road than we were this time last year and I honestly believe we can finish this tournament on a high note.

"I think in comparison to Wales we definitely kicked on a lot and there were a lot of improvements, but there's still a long, long way to go. It's a very mixed emotion. It's positive because we played better but at the same time we're pro sportsmen and we are paid to win, and we didn't."


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