Six Nations Rugby: France v Ireland 20:00 Sat
France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre has demanded more from his players when they go up against Ireland, who are long odds with Paddy Power for victory as the two nations meet up this weekend in Paris.
Les Blues were able to comfortably see off Italy 30-12 in their opening 6 Nations fixture last weekend thanks to tries from Aurelien Rougerie, Julien Malzieu, Vincent Clerc and Wesley Fofana, but the former Sale head coach believes his side must show more against Ireland.
“It’s good to win but there is a lot of room for improvement,” Saint-Andre said. “We will have to play at another level against Ireland.
“On the plus side, we scored four tries, we were disciplined and we did not a concede any try. On the negative side, we should gain more possession, we lacked aggression, especially at the beginning.” He added.
One bone of contention for Saint-Andre proved to be the manner in which his side conceded possession, something they will not be able to get away with against an Ireland side that came within inches of beating Wales in Dublin last weekend.
France were able to secure a 22-25 victory against Ireland last year despite being out-scored by three tries to one at the Aviva Stadium, while two wins in World Cup warm up games for the French over Declan Kidney’s side last year give the home a side a clear advantage in recent meetings.
Ireland will be able to call upon the services of Stephen Ferris after the forward was cleared following his citing for the tip-tackle that handed Wales what proved to be the winning points last weekend, while Keith Earls may return to the squad after being granted compassionate leave last week after his daughter fell ill.
France have opted to make four changes for the game against Ireland, with Imanol Harinordoquy Yoann Maestri r, Dimitri Szarzewski and Jean-Baptiste Poux getting the nod to form the core of a new-look pack.