French find hope for the RWC

The All Blacks may be the current benchmark in world rugby, but the French believe there is enough time between now and the World Cup – to be staged in France in September and October next year – for the rest to catch up to the New Zealanders.

France, who suffered a 2-0 series whitewash at the hands of the Kiwis and lost 23-11 in the second test at the weekend after going down 47-3 the previous week, are already talking of said 10 months (to the World Cup) is a long time.

French coach Bernard Laporte, although disappointed at having lost at the weekend again, said he was “pleased” with the spirit his team showed against the Kiwis at the weekend.

“The players competed well and didn’t expose themselves as much as last week. Unfortunately at 9-5 down we weren’t able to control the game but it was an improvement, that’s the truth.

“It was difficult against such a high-quality team as we were unsure how to react in certain situations. We need to bring something extra to the game.

“Our players really put commitment into the game today, we got back to playing at a high level.

“We were more intelligent in our organisation but we didn’t have as much power or speed.

“If there’s a lack of power then they need to work on that. We have 10 months to do that [before the World Cup].”

Laporte admitted, however, that he was uncertain whether his team would be able to overturn the All Blacks if they meet, as anticipated, in a World Cup semi-final next year.

“We’ll just have to wait and see,” said Laporte, whose side on Saturday play Argentina, who have posted wins over England (25-18) and Italy (23-16) in their two previous games.

Team manager Jo Maso was more realistic in his assessment of where France stood in relation to New Zealand.

“The All Blacks are currently above and beyond the other teams,” said the former international centre.

“We need to wait for another season where we can all prepare the same way. Then the other nations might be up to this challenge.”

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