We are thinking of moving onto the next stage, but you know when you are playing New Zealand you are against one of the best teams in the world.
“We’ll have to take into our hands our own destiny, to impose our game”.
“We totally trust Philippe and we want to win this game”.
What that way is no one is quite certain of.
However under Saint-Andre, France have finished no higher than fourth in the Six Nations.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has done his bit to stoke the French flames this week, claiming Saturday’s opponents have lost the flair on which they once prided themselves.’Can you explain to me what French flair is?’ responded Dusautoir on Friday ‘What interests me is to get through. He might remember that four years ago, his predecessor Marc Lievremont was effectively ousted as coach by a player revolt, so perhaps he should pick his words more carefully.
Halfback Sebastien Tillous-Borde was axed and lumbering centre Mathieu Bastareaud dropped in favour of Morgan Para and Alexandre Dumoulin, a clear sign they intend to speed up their attack. Bastareaud’s limited game, based around the crash ball and seemingly having nothing to do with deft hands, was rubbed raw by an abrasive Irish defence.
After all, in 2011, France went all the way to the final and so almost spoiled New Zealand’s party on home soil in the final, losing by a single point. “He’s also well capable of positioning himself appropriately and defending very well”, said Saint-Andre.
Either Richie McCaw or French skipper Thierry Dusautoir will bow out after the quarterfinal. Saint-Andre will be hoping Le Roux’s superior physique will help the French team at ruck time.
Indeed while France surprised New Zealand at the 1999 and 2007 World Cups, on both occasions Les Bleus entered the tournament on the back of winning Grand Slams.
The criticism of Saint-Andre, according L’obs Sport, was that he lacked charisma and he was viewed as a good guy but not as a leader of men.
“If there is no rebellion this week, there never will be”, said Saint-Andre, who steps down after the tournament. Going into a quarterfinal meeting between the sides, New Zealand were overwhelming favorites, not just to beat France, but to go on and lift the trophy.
If Saint-Andre still has a say in the dressing room, he could do worse than invoking the spirit of 2007, when France delivered a performance of panache to eliminate New Zealand in the quarter-finals.