Second-half spell pleases Saint-Andre
February 9, 2014
Bonneval's try capped a tremendous start to the second half for France © Getty Images
Philippe Saint-Andre declared himself happy that his side demonstrated they had learnt their lesson from last week's win over England as they kept their Six Nations Grand Slam bid on track with a 30-10 victory over Italy.
France were nearly undone against England, down largely in part to a slow start in the second half, and again against Italy they came out for the second half with a slender lead - just 9-3 ahead after a cagey opening 40 minutes. But they ensured there was no repeat, roaring into life from the restart as Louis Picamoles, Wesley Fofana and debutant Hugo Bonneval killed off Italy's resistance with tries in a devastating nine-minute spell.
For the opening hour France were largely untroubled - but late on they lost Sebastien Vahaamahina to the bin and had Rabah Slimani sent off as Italy grabbed a consolation try. But despite a disappointing final 20 minutes Saint-Andre was happy to focus on the positives.
"Last week, the beginning of the second-half against England was terrible, so we were very focused to start well in the second-half," Saint-Andre said.
"We did some good work for 55-60 minutes. We scored three tries, but nothing happened in the last 20 minutes. There were lots of penalties for both sides and two red cards.
"It was a good 60 minutes, but very disappointing for the last 20. We didn't have any ball."
Slimani's sending off was perhaps the only blemish on an afternoon which saw France join Ireland as the only remaining Grand Slam hopeful. The prop saw red after an exchange of punches with opposite number Michaele Rizzo, who was also given his marching orders - becoming the first players to be sent off in the Six Nations since 2006.
The pair will face disciplinary hearings to see whether they will face bans - but Saint-Andre admits he did not want to let that or Vahaamahina's late yellow card take away from a resounding win.
"The yellow card was very harsh," he said. "The red cards, I think there was a scrum and something dodgy. I just prefer to see the three good tries we scored.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
Communication error please reload the page.
Andy Murray has opened up as to why he chose the "extremely strong" Amelie Mauresmo as his next coach, and says the former world No.1 has had a "calming" influence over him
Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene says he tried to provoke F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone into making changes by watching testing from the grandstands in Barcelona
Kevin Magnussen says he would not feel fully prepared to race for McLaren in Australia if Fernando Alonso is declared unfit for the season opener
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger claims his job is under just as much pressure as any other Premier League manager, while warning his players they'll have to show effort in defending or risk being left out
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho turned down an approach from Tottenham after leaving Stamford Bridge in September 2007
With the World Cup only a few months away, the last thing France needed was doubts over the future of their coach, writes Huw Richards
They came to Murrayfield looking to put down a marker, but Scotland were sent home with their tails between their legs, writes Tristan Barclay
In the latest edition of ESPN's Week in Words, Olivier Giroud gets emotional, Dimitar Berbatov is a bit smug, Arsene Wenger is hurting and Rory McIlroy is "p***** off"
ESPN sat down with Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz in Barcelona to talk his rookie year, escaping his famous father's shadow and the step up to the big league in 2015
Kempton Park and which other course have a race named after Desert Orchid?
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says Daniel Sturridge's fitness must be managed properly so that the striker "doesn't break"
Ander Herrera wishes he could play every game for Manchester United but manager Louis van Gaal's "philosophy" will ultimately restrict his match time
Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea has dismissed speculation he has fallen out with manager Louis van Gaal
Louis van Gaal admits Manchester United have fallen behind Chelsea and Manchester City this season because they have lacked a prolific goalscorer
Referee Roger East has told the body responsible for officiating standards in English football it was not a case of mistaken identity when he sent off Sunderland's Wes Brown at Manchester United
The PGA Tour swings into Los Angeles for the Northern Trust Open and the season steps up a gear with some notable names coming out of winter hibernation
An honest England side have been searching for the heir to Jason Robinson for nearly a decade. Step forward Jonathan Joseph, writes Simon Barnes
We rewind to 2003 when Real Madrid brought a park attitude to their Champions League clash with Manchester United and played out a 4-3 thriller
Chris Eubank Jr tells Inside Boxing of his hopes of a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders - and a dream showdown with the formidable Gennady Golovkin
Piers Morgan has declared himself "hurt" over former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson's claims that he is not an authentic fan of the club