• 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

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
Gaza crisis: Air France halts flights to Tel Aviv
Air France has suspended all flights to Tel Aviv. Photo: AFP

Gaza crisis: Air France halts flights to Tel Aviv

French national airline company Air France suspended its flights to Tel Aviv on Tuesday until further notice, due to the worsening security situation in Gaza. READ  

Four children killed in French minibus crash
Five children die in minibus crash in eastern France. Photo: AFP

Four children killed in French minibus crash

UPDATED: Four children and two adults died in a road crash near the city of Troyes in central France on Tuesday when their minibus collided head-on with a lorry travelling in the opposite direction, French authorities said. READ  

Tour de France stage 16: Australian Rogers wins
Australian Michael Rogers won the 16th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Tour de France stage 16: Australian Rogers wins

Australian rider Michael Rogers won stage 16 of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees on Tuesday ahead of Frenchman Thomas Voeckler. The 237.5km stage was the longest of the the 2014 "Grande Boucle". READ  

Hollande denies rumours he will marry actress
Is Hollande about to get married to actress Julie Gayet? He himself has denied it, but he's been. Photos: AFP

Hollande denies rumours he will marry actress

The French president François Hollande has brushed off persistent rumours he is about to get married to actress Julie Gayet, whose secret affair with the president made headlines around the globe when it was revealed in January this year. READ  

Avignon wowed by 18-hour Shakespeare play
A file photo taken on June 25, 2014 at the Theatre National de Bretagne, in Rennes, western France, shows actors from the troupe "La Piccola Familia" performing during a rehearsal of "Henri VI". Photo

Avignon wowed by 18-hour Shakespeare play

An 18-hour version of Shakespeare's epic "Henry VI" ended to sustained applause early Tuesday at France's top arts festival in Avignon, marking a triumph for the play's 32-year-old director. READ  

Pro-Palestinian Paris demo given green light
A pro-palestinian protest has been given the green light in Paris, despite the risks of violence. File photo: Bertrand Langlois/AFP

Pro-Palestinian Paris demo given green light

French authorities have given the green light for a pro-Palestinian demo to be held in Paris on Wednesday, after it came under fire for banning previous marches, that nevertheless ended in violence. French PM Manuel Valls has blamed the recent riots on extremist groups. READ  

Rising water traps eight cavers in French Alps
Eight caves have been reported missing after an expedition to the Cuves des Sassenages, near Grenoble, seen above in this file photo. Image: Delaere/FLickr

Rising water traps eight cavers in French Alps

UPDATED: Eight cavers who had become trapped overnight in a famous cave system in the French Alps by rising water levels were rescued on Tuesday afternoon, reports said. Visits to the cave were cancelled on Tuesday due to flooding. READ  

Netflix promises 'to invest in French society'
Netflix is set to launch in France this September. Photo: Jason Merritt/AFP

Netflix promises 'to invest in French society'

American video streaming service Netflix has announced it is coming to France in September and has promised to invest in French society. Rumours are still flying around online about how much the service will cost per month. READ  

The Local list
The top 15 expressions in French for making love
From sauce pans to legs of lam: The top 15 expressions in French for having sex. Photo: Shutterstock

The top 15 expressions in French for making love

The French language is famous for being the language of love and it's also well known for its vast array of colourful idioms and expressions. So we’ve combined the two and picked out 15 of the best French "sexpressions" for "rumpty pumpty" a la française. READ  

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters
Police arrested dismantled a suspected terror cell in southern France (Frank Perry/AFP)

French police bust alleged jihad recruiters

Three people suspected of recruiting fighters for the Syrian civil war and plotting 'violent acts' were arrested early on Tuesday in France. The raid comes as France tries to stem the number of its residents fighting 'holy war' abroad. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
Forget 'faire l'amour', here's 15 top French expressions for making love
National
Report - 'Anti-Semitic' riots in France: 'We may leave for Israel'
National
IN IMAGES: Two Paris anti-Israel demos descend into violence
National
Paris Plages: Here's 10 reasons to head down to the city beach
International
'Mont Blanc is like Disneyland. It's time to end the free-for-all'
Travel
Fancy climbing Mont Blanc? Here's 10 reasons to think twice about it
Travel
Sun's up: Temperatures in parts of France could hit 40°C
National
Monkey slur lands ex-National Front member with hefty jail sentence
National
VIDEO: Jewish 'ultras' and anti-Israel mob in running street battle in Paris
International
Middle East crisis: 'Jews in France are stand-ins for Israeli targets'
Culture
IN PICTURES: Bastille Day fireworks mark centenary of the 'Great War'
Gallery
Looking for a weird museum in Paris? Here's 10 that are worth a visit
National
Clear your head: Eight tips for buying wine in a French supermarket
National
'Don't blame the labour market for France's unemployment woes!'
National
Job applicants in France: Be prepared to send in an anonymous CV
Sport
'I've never seen scenes like it' - Tour de France winner on the UK crowds
Sport
'Bouligans' to booze bans: Ten things you need to know about pétanque
Gallery
Driving in France: How to stay out of trouble on the roads
Travel
Ten essential free phone apps for a visit to Paris
Gallery
Like cycling? Love France? See the top ten best cycling routes in France
International
'They think beer is a vegetable': What the French really think of Germans
National
Sarkozy's dream of a 2017 comeback is not dead yet
Gallery
Ten reasons why France is better than Germany (we're not talking football)
Sponsored Article
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
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