Quick links: Rugby Video | Six Nations Rugby | Premiership Rugby | LV= Cup | Rugby Championship | Heineken Cup Rugby | Pro 12 Rugby | Super Rugby | Currie Cup Rugby | Rugby World Cup

Saint Andre puts England as Six Nations favourites

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre says England are the favourites

Email Article | | Print Article | Click here for a free $150 Bet

Article Published: Wednesday 23 January 2013

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has said that England are the favourites to win the 2013 Six Nations championship and puts France as outsiders.

Current Grand Slam Champions Wales are expected to struggle in the 2013 Championship as they are on a losing streak and will be without head coach Warren Gatland.

Saint-Andre has insisted having beaten the world champions New Zealand 38-21 England are the favourites to win this year's Six Nations.

"England, with their performance against New Zealand and three home games, they are the favourites. We are outsiders but the French like to be outsiders."

France, who finished fourth in last season's Six Nations, go into the tournament as one of the favourites after an impressive end-of-year series saw them finish 2012 with three successive home wins including an impressive 33-6 victory over Australia in Paris in November.

In all, France have won their last four Tests -- a run that includes an away success against Argentina.

However, a wary Saint-Andre said: "We know the big problem of French rugby is to be consistent.

"On our best day we can beat the best in the world, on our worst we can lose to anyone. It's a big step this Six Nations because we have three away games.

"We did well in the autumn but we were at home. This year is big, we are trying to show how tough we can be mentally and physically away from home."

And he warned a trip to Rome would be no easy opener for his side.

"The French team lost two years ago against Italy and it was a big tsunami but Italy are a very good team and they were very unlucky to lose against Australia in November.

"They are very well organised and we need to be very careful."

A feature of France's recent victories has been the form of recalled fly-half Frederic Michalak.

"He has a lot of flair and experience," said Saint-Andre. "He's playing at scrum-half for Toulon but I pick him at fly-half at France.

"But with Jonny Wilkinson at Toulon, Brock James, Luke McAlister (all foreigners playing at fly-half for French clubs) you have to find a fly-half.

"A fly-half is like a good French wine. The older you are, the better you are. He (Michalak) is a dad also and I think his view of rugby now is totally different. We also have Francois Trinh-Duc."

Meanwhile, Saint-Andre faces a nervous wait this week as his leading players will be involved in domestic league action on Thursday and Friday and so run the risk of an injury that could rule them out of their Six Nations opener away to Italy on February 3.

By contrast, England's squad are already in a training camp and their star names will not be involved in club matches this weekend.

"We are still waiting for Saturday, because there is the French league Thursday and Friday, so we just cross our fingers that we won't have too many injuries," said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, speaking at the Six Nations launch in London on Wednesday.

"We need to be as focused as possible with the few days (training) we have," the former France captain added.

"The Six Nations is a fantastic event and it looks as if you run 100 metres but we start 10 metres behind (the other teams). So you need to run 110 metres.

"We just need to look after our best 33, 34 players like England do," said Saint-Andre, who coached in England with Gloucester and Sale.

However, he added this had been a refrain of his predecessors as France coach.

"Bernard Laporte was saying the same thing, Marc Lievremont was saying the same thing. For me, I just hope the next coach after me will say 'everything is in place'."

Heineken Cup Rugby News
McCall excited about Champions Cup fixtures
aracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall says that he believes their opening Champions Cup fixture at Allianz Park against Stade Toulousain provides the Aviva Premiership Champions with an "incredibly exciting" start the 2015/16 competition
Read more on this Rugby news article

Other recent news
Toulon in pool of death for European Champions Cup
European Champions Cup final venues confirmed
Leinster part company with coach Matt O'Connor

More Heineken Cup Rugby News

Aviva Premiership
Anglo Welsh Cup News
Six Nations Rugby
Ritchie: England finishing second is 'not acceptable'
Rugby Football Union (RFU) chief executive Ian Ritchie has said that England's fourth consecutive runners-up finish in the Six Nations is "not acceptable".
Read more on this Rugby news article

Other recent news
Frenzied 6N finale sends World Cup warning
Mike Brown slams lacklustre Italy and Scotland
Ireland end 60 year wait for back to back titles

More Six Nations Rugby News

Rugby Week Sponsor
Latest Rugby video