England are the best team : Marc Lievremont

France coach Marc Lievremont says that his team will have to improve dramatically in the next fortnight if his Six Nations and Grand Slam champions want to beat England who he says are the best team in the tournament.

The 42-year-old — who guided France to their first Grand Slam since 2004 last year — was speaking after his side edged 2009 Grand Slam champions Ireland 25-22 at Lansdowne Road.

But it was a performance he rated as only worthy of 4/10.

Lievremont, whose side remains on course for a repeat of their Grand Slam having beaten Scotland in their opener a week ago, said the thought of playing England next at Twickenham was not giving him a migraine.

But he admitted they presented an awesome challenge.

“England are very much ahead of the other five nations,” said Lievremont of the only other unbeaten side in the tournament.

“They are on a different level to the rest. We are going to have to go away and talk about the match and settle some issues.”

Lievremont sounded more like the coach of the losing side as he outlined the areas where the French needed to smarten up if they are to avoid suffering a similar fate as the side two years ago who were humiliated 34-10 at Twickenham.

“Conceding three tries is far too many (making it six in their first two Six Nations matches),” he said.

“The side were too impatient, they lacked discipline, they were limited technically and wasted too many balls,” said the former backrow forward, who was part of the side beaten by Australia in the 1999 World Cup final.

“While the Irish put us under pressure for 80 minutes if we had shown more patience we could have finished them off earlier.

“I am sorry that we didn’t score more than one try but I liked how the players held firm and both the lineouts and the footwork by the backs were good.”

France captain Thierry Dusautoir said he had not caught much of England’s destruction of Italy on Saturday but he had drawn one conclusion.

“Their backs have a lot of speed and penetration,” said the 29-year-old Ivory Coast-born flanker, known as the ‘Dark Destroyer’.

“We will have to go away and have a keener look at the matches they have played and think about how best to approach the challenge.”

Even though Lievremont was not impressed by the performance of the French he said he would be sticking with the same squad for the England match.

That will come as a relief to some of the team members, especially unpredictable fullback Clement Poitrenaud, whose knock on in the fifth minute handed the Irish their first try and the early momentum.

Indeed, while Lievremont removed him from the game after 50 minutes he gave him his full public backing when pressed on the 28-year-old Toulouse star, who can also be one of the side’s most inspirational players when on form.

“I have confidence in him, even if he might be lacking in confidence after the match,” said Lievremont.

“I am very happy with his performance overall and I will be talking to him.”


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