Saint-Andre plays the blame game
June 23, 2014
Phillipe Saint-Andre looks dejected after France's third loss to Australia at the weekend © Getty Images
Phillipe Saint-Andre has attacked the schedule imposed on France's players as one of the reasons his side performed so badly during their series whitewash in Australia.
Saint-Andre's position, already under scrutiny after a poor Six Nations campaign, is now looking very unsteady but he was quick to lay the blame at the volume of rugby demanded of his side.
"England will take three weeks holiday before starting five weeks of technical and physical development," he said. "They will resume their domestic programme in early September. Our internationals resume early August. It is unfortunate, but a high-level player must not play more than 30 matches per season or they will be subject to serious injury."
He then returned to a point he raised during the tour. Foreign players. "Seven or eight years ago there were 70% foreigners in the Premiership. Now there are 70% English. With us, it's the other way round. Suddenly, the pool [to choose from] becomes scarce. There are not currently ten wingers on our list of those available to play for France."
He was also critical of being forced to name his side before the semi-finals of the Top 14, arguing that had he been allowed to wait he could have taken two or three players who showed good form in those games.
Despite that, Saint-Andre said he still believed the French could be serious players come the 2015 Rugby World Cup. "We know that, over time, can do wonders. The team conceded 50 points in New Zealand three or four months before the 1999 Rugby World Cup but they still reached the final. Then in 2010 they conceded 50 points at the Stade de France against the Australia, and yet 15 months later failed by a point in the final against the All Blacks."
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