• France's news in English
 

Autumn tests 'pivotal' to World Cup: Saint-André

Published: 17 Oct 2012 09:50 GMT+02:00

The 45-year-old - who replaced Marc Lièvremont after France's 8-7 defeat to the All Blacks in last year's World Cup final - faces tests against Australia on November 10, historical bogey team Argentina a week later and then the physical Samoans.

Saint-André said that he was looking to winning all three so that France can capture one of the top four rankings in the world and a seeding in the 2015 World Cup draw in December.

"These November tests have never been as important," said the former captain and star winger for France with whom he won 69 caps from 1990-97 after unveiling his 33-man squad for a pre-test training camp.

"They are not just November test matches. We are fifth in the International Rugby Board (IRB) rankings.

"The draw for the four pools for the World Cup is in London on December 3 and if we can gain a place in the rankings we will be a top seed, which has rarely happened in France. It would be fantastic."

However, Saint-André couldn't resist a dig at the French Top 14 calendar as well as the European Cup schedule for not giving him more time to prepare his squad.

"We are entering the sprint stage for the 2015 World Cup," said Saint-André, fondly nicknamed 'Piglet' for his running style during his playing career.

"We have a particular type of system which sees us play against countries who are more like clubs, because they have had so much time together.

"We only have three days together (the training camp November 2-4) but we are going to beat them with the rich talents of the Top 14."

Saint-André, who had a modest opening Six Nations campaign where France finished fourth, said that he had decided to retain faith with a large part of the inexperienced squad that tied a two match series with Argentina in South America in June.

"We have remained coherent in our selection, there are 20 from the Argentina squad because this group (who toured Argentina) is the bedrock of the French team," he said.

"After them there are three who we rested for the Argentina tour and have recalled: Nicolas Mas, skipper Thierry Dusautoir and Vincent Clerc.

"We have also been logical in our selecting those players who are in form in the Top 14 like Yannick Forestier, Damien Chouly and Jocelino Suta, who is the first choice in the side (Toulon) that is top of the Top 14.

"After that we maintain, because we still have a little time, having a young player in each line in the scrum and backs, players who we think have a huge potential but who may not yet be ready but we hope will be in 18-20 months."

Saint-André, who coached at club level English sides Sale and Gloucester and French outfits Bourgoin and Toulon, said that the youngsters would learn a lot from the three day training camp.

"They will come here, see the systems we use, how they work, live with the players from the French team... They will be three important days," he said.

"The tests against Australia and Argentina will be revealing for us.

"The Australians have been together for four-and-a-half months and are preparing for their tour with a friendly against the All Blacks on Saturday.

"It is not a country we are playing, it is a club! Argentina will never have been better prepared than for the match with us.

"They have also been together for four months and played in the Four Nations championship.

"For us it is an exciting challenge. We have only three days to really work with the 33 players.

"There will be a good training session on the Sunday of the training camp and if a youngster plays out of his socks during the afternoon and is the best of the 30 then we will keep him for the first Test."

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Pensioner freed after 'having sex with pony'
This is not the pony involved in the story. Photo: Steve lodefink/Flickr

Pensioner freed after 'having sex with pony'

A 74-year-old Frenchman who was caught in the act of having sex with a pony this week has walked free after escaping punishment, French media has reported. READ  

Heatwave to hit start of French holiday season
Rail passengers forced to walk along the tracks after a power outage at Paris's Gare Saint Lazare. Photo: Nicolas Mely/Twitter

Heatwave to hit start of French holiday season

With 51 départements now on alert for the heatwave - almost half of the country - the extreme heat is promising to disrupt the start of the French summer holiday season, particularly on the railways. READ  

Mum gets nine years for murdering eight babies
Dominique Cottrez appears in court on the first day of her trial. Photo: AFP

Mum gets nine years for murdering eight babies

A French housewife who killed eight of her children at birth which she claimed were from an incestuous relationship with her father, was handed a nine-year prison sentence on Thursday. READ  

Nike fined for putting French shirt on Churchill
The French basketball team posing with the dressed-up statue. Photo: BFMTV

Nike fined for putting French shirt on Churchill

American sportswear giant Nike has been ordered to pay thousands of euros by a court in Paris after arranging a stunt that saw a French basketball shirt placed on the statue of Britain's war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill near the Champs-Elysée. READ  

What France might look like in the year 2050
If you thought this week’s record-breaking heatwave was a one-off then think again. Photo: Dominique Faget/AFP

What France might look like in the year 2050

A science magazine's predictions for what France will be like in the year 2050 sound a little like scenes from a disaster movie, well at least for those who love Bordeaux wine. The Local takes a closer look. READ  

French court allows Le Pen to rejoin the party
Founder of the National Front (FN), Jean-Marie Le Pen, leaves the High Court of Nanterre on June 12th. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

French court allows Le Pen to rejoin the party

A French court on Thursday cancelled the suspension of veteran far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen from the National Front party which he founded. READ  

French voters would prefer DSK to Hollande
Dominique Strauss-Kahn looking relieved now that his sex life has been made public. Can he make a comeback? Photo: AFP

French voters would prefer DSK to Hollande

Despite his sordid sex life being exposed for all to see in a recent pimping trial, ex-IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn remains a favourite among French voters, many of whom would like to see him in the Elysée Palace in 2017. READ  

Outcry as France's much loved puppets face axe

Outcry as France's much loved puppets face axe

They have lampooned the political elite for decades, at home and abroad, but now the merciless puppets hosting France's favourite comedy show Les Guignols are threatened with redundancy, sparking an outcry on Thursday. READ  

Calais travel chaos
Calais: French strikers put protest on hold
Trucks are parked on carriageways of the M20 motorway near Ashford in Kent in south-east England, on Wednesday, waiting to board ferries to France. Photo: Ben Stansall/AFP

Calais: French strikers put protest on hold

The port at Calais in northern France partially reopened on Thursday as ferry workers suspended protests that have blocked access for three consecutive days. However ferry services remained limited and strikers have threatened more action. READ  

'No error' over faulty breast implants: court
Lawyer Laurent Gaudon (R) and his clients who received the faulty implants at the start of the trial in 2013. Photo: Gerard Julien/AFP

'No error' over faulty breast implants: court

A French appeals court on Thursday found German safety standards body TUV had "fulfilled its obligations" in certifying breast implants that were found to be faulty and sparked a worldwide scare. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
National
GPS helps blind French hikers cross mountains
National
Dreading the heatwave in France? Here's how to survive the sun
National
Brits might have the brighter economy but are the French happier?
Ryanair or French air traffic controllers: Who would you support?
How life will change in France as of July 1st
These are best places in Paris to escape the heatwave
Ten beaches in France where you'd love to be during the heatwave
Calais chaos: Travellers left to curse 'striking French'
Society
Why the French are right to strike (but perhaps not burn tracks)
Why France doesn't have much to lose from a Grexit
National
Frenchwoman dies as bungee jump ends in tragedy
Travel
The most beautiful French villages you've never heard of
National
Can we really feel any sympathy for French taxi drivers?
Feigned French shock over US spying is not fooling anyone
Gallery
When Franco-American relations turn sour - Ten transatlantic scraps
Sport
Dozens fall violently ill after 'mud race' in France
How a genetically modified 'jellyfish-lamb' ended being eaten in France
Culture
Ten must-visit movie scene locations in Paris
National
Paris to return historic squares to the people
Forget Nutella here's eight things the French should really give up
Sport
What the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris would look like
It's time to lay off the French - They are not that rude
National
Just look at what France has given the United States over the years
Health
France's creaking health service must change if it wants to stay world's best
National
French warn UK: 'Brexit could be your Waterloo'
Europe commemorates 200 years since Waterloo
National
Waterloo: What you need to know about Napoleon
French told stop eating Nutella to save planet
Is it time for France's empty churches to be turned into mosques?
French people told to stop scoffing Nutella in order to save planet
Society
French school teacher shows his pupils porn film
National
IN PICTURES: See the blaze that ravaged a French basilica
Video: Tourists shocked by Calais migrants scramble
The French words the English language needs to steal right now
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
Travel
13 ways France aims to become more welcoming to tourists
Education
Expat parents protest changes to admissions for Paris bilingual schools
Education
Test yourself: Just how good is your French grammar?
Travel
France to spend 'hundreds of millions' on tourism
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,391
jobs available