• France edition
 

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

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

France coach Philippe Saint-André says that despite being three years away the next World Cup was approaching fast and the three November tests would be pivotal in the "sprint" to the 2015 finals.

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."

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French reporters held captive in Syria set free
Didier Francois, Edouard Elias, Pierre Torres and Nicolas Henin. AFP Photo / Chris Huby/ Haytham Pictures/ Torres Family / Benoit Schaeffer

French reporters held captive in Syria set free

Four French journalists held captive in Syria for almost a year were free and "in good health" on Saturday, President Francois Hollande told AFP, saying they would be back in France within hours. READ () »

Euro hunt for French girl ends in her hometown
Europe-wide search for missing French girl ends in her hometown. Photo: AFP

Euro hunt for French girl ends in her hometown

A Europe-wide hunt for a missing 15-year-old French girl ended in her hometown on Friday where she was located with a 48-year-old family friend who was suspected of abducting her. Police believed the friend was suicidal. READ () »

French MP proposes puppy custody law
A French lawmaker wants puppies looked after in case of a divorce. Photo: Robbee/Flickr

French MP proposes puppy custody law

Who gets custody of a dog after a divorce? A French lawmaker has proposed a bill to create a legal framework to answer precisely that and other tricky questions surrounding pets. READ () »

Threat letter to French mosque praises far right
A mosque in the Paris suburbs has gotten a threat tied to the recent election of far-right National Front mayor. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Threat letter to French mosque praises far right

After pork products turned up in the mailbox of a suburban Paris mosque along with a threatening letter praising the town's recently elected far-right National Front mayor, muslims are concerned about a "worrying" local shift. READ () »

'Slavery' protesters slash hundreds of Velib' tires
Hundreds of Velib' bike tires slashed in 'slavery' protest. Photo: Cyril Folliot/AFP

'Slavery' protesters slash hundreds of Velib' tires

Far-left activists slashed the tires on over 360 Velib’ bikes in Paris this week in protest of the ‘slave’ labour the programme’s operator uses to repair vandalized bikes. The vandals could themselves end up 'slave' labour. READ () »

New scandal means more bad news for president
France's president was smacked with his administration's latest embarrassing scandal. Photo: Alain Jocard/AFP

New scandal means more bad news for president

The latest blow to struggling President François Hollande came on Friday when a close aide quit over allegations he'd used taxpayer money to support a posh lifestyle and appeared to have breached conflict of interest barriers. READ () »

French bank bosses to explain 'indecent' pay
France's economy minister wants bank bosses to explain their "indecent" pay. Photo: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP

French bank bosses to explain 'indecent' pay

France’s economy minister, outraged by huge pay hikes the bosses of the country’s biggest banks have awarded themselves in the past year, called the chiefs to a meeting to “explain” their “indecent” pay. READ () »

Eurostar: Major train delays after two incidents
Multiple incident snarl Eurostar traffic during Easter rush. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP

Eurostar: Major train delays after two incidents

Hundreds of travelers on Eurostar trains between Paris and London saw hours of delays and cancellations on Thursday night due to back-to-back technical and fatal incidents. Service was supposed to be back to normal on Friday. READ () »

Police finish DNA sweep in hunt for school rapist
Police have finished an unprecedented DNA collection in the hunt for a rapist. Photo: Xavier Leoty/AFP

Police finish DNA sweep in hunt for school rapist

All 527 male students and staff at a private school in France have turned over their DNA as part of an unprecedented hunt for whoever raped a girl in a campus bathroom. One student who'd refused relented under prosecutors' pressure. READ () »

‘France needs to change its response to crime’
France prison's have hit a new record for overcrowding. Photo: Damien Meyer/AFP

‘France needs to change its response to crime’

This month France had more prisoners behind bars than ever before in its history, according to statistics unveiled on Thursday. An expert on the country's penal system told The Local that Sarkozy-era sentencing laws are largely to blame. READ () »

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Society
VIDEO: Take a look inside Paris’s first luxury hotel for cats
Education
French parents are the most laidback about their kids' education. True?
Tech
What do French TV viewers complain about the most? Yes it's English
Business & Money
French tax declarations: The key points to remember
Gallery
French slang: Everyday words you need to know (but use cautiously)
National
Paris cops told to ‘purge’ Roma from posh neighbourhood
International
VIDEO: ‘Anti-French’ Cadillac ad sparks anger in France. See why.
Features
Buying property in France? Here's 10 things you need to think about
National
What will the future map of France look like? The answer lies within.
Politics
'The 27 French regions aren't the problem, it's the 36,000 towns'
Culture
Ex underage call girl Zahia picked to embody Marie Antoinette
Gallery
Buying a house in France? Ten things you need to think about
Advertisement:
National
France bans work emails after 6pm! Sadly it's not quite true.
Opinion
Reader Rants: Why don't the French do charity? Is it down to taxes?
Society
VIDEO: The Paris zoo is back but this time the animals are in charge
National
This will be the most expensive road in France - Only €1.66bn for 12km!
Society
Only in France? Gourmet pensioners party lands village in hot water
National
What's the worst thing to do when you realise you're on the wrong train?
From showers to kissing: Anglos tell Twitter what's weird about France
National
'A big quake will hit France and there will be casualties' - Scientist warns
Culture
After all the dozens of books is France still worth writing about?
Sponsored Article
Why it pays to avoid banks when making overseas transfers
Opinion
Paris or the suburbs - where would you live?
National
VIDEO: Walk the line - crossing the Seine on a tightrope
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 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