Saint-André right to read riot act, says Nakaitaci

Cameras showed France coach berating side after poor first half display against Romania

Television cameras showed France coach Philippe Saint-Andre reading the riot act to his players after a scrappy first half display against Romania on Wednesday night. Photograph: PA

Television cameras showed France coach Philippe Saint-Andre reading the riot act to his players after a scrappy first half display against Romania on Wednesday night. Photograph: PA

 

France winger Noa Nakaitaci admits head coach Philippe Saint-André was right to give the team a dressing-down after their limp first-half display against Romania.

Les Bleus ran in five tries to win the World Cup clash 38-11 at the Olympic Stadium, but with 30 minutes played the score was level at 3-3 and Romania had arguably been the stronger side.

Television cameras allowed into the changing rooms showed Saint-André reading the riot act during the interval but Nakaitaci believes the harsh words were deserved.

“He told us to move our a***s. He was a bit p****d off,” Nakaitaci said.

“We knew he was going to be p****d off at half-time because we didn’t make a good first-half performance. It was ugly. He is happy for the moment.”

A yellow card for Romania’s Paulica Ion gave France the opening they needed at the end of the first period as Sofiane Guitoune and Yannick Nyanga scored twice in three minutes.

The second half followed a similar pattern as Romania held their own for 20 minutes before fatigue again set in, and tries from Guitoune, Wesley Fofana and Gael Fickou sealed the bonus-point victory.

France were pleased to have taken all five points, just four days after beating Italy, but the 2011 finalists will have to improve if they are to overcome more ruthless opposition.

“We are happy with our bonus-point win although the game wasn’t what we wanted it to be like,” Nakaitaci said.

“The first half hour was very unsettling. They were good in the scrums, they were very good in the rucks, but we didn’t panic.

“We were able to come back in the second half and put a few tries in.”

It means France climb to the top of Pool D, four points clear of Ireland, although having played a game more.

They have a rest before taking on Canada in Milton Keynes next Thursday and forward Bernard Le Roux says morale is high in the French camp after their two opening victories.

“For the first time in a few years we have had a brilliant pre-season of a few months,” Le Roux said. “There is a really good vibe going on. We are here to win the competition.

“Ireland is probably the biggest game in our pool but we still respect Canada and we have to get past them.”

Romania have now faced France 50 times but their last victory in the fixture came in 1990, with Les Bleus winning all of the last 15 meetings.

The Oaks, however, will take confidence into Sunday’s clash with Ireland, after matching France for long spells and scoring a late consolation try through Valentin Ursache.

“The try is a huge achievement for us and Romanian rugby,” forwards coach Marius Tincu said.

“We’ve tried so hard to achieve a result and we celebrated that try like a victory.

“We now have the confidence going into the Ireland match that we can take them.

“We have showed the world that we can compete against the big nations and done ourselves and our country proud.”

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