Laurent Labit: “Ntamack must be supported, assisted”


“What were the main areas of work for the week?The week was again very rich….

Laurent Labit: “Ntamack must be supported, assisted”

Laurent Labit: “Ntamack must be supported, assisted”

“What were the main areas of work for the week?
The week was again very rich. We knew we would have a real test in Ireland (32-19) against the best team in the world. We had a week off after the game in Dublin and we asked the players to work on the game. They came back with many lessons.

What have you asked your players to rectify before facing Scotland on Sunday?
Each game has its story. In Ireland, especially in the first half, when we found ourselves shorthanded, we left a little too much energy at 14 trying to hold the ball, which we had managed to do well at the start of the match. But inevitably, we know that in this kind of match, at some point, we can pay for it. That’s what happened in the second half, where we stayed for more than ten minutes at 22-16 for them, with four or five situations where we could have changed the game. With the juice we left at the start, we lacked the lucidity to put this Irish team in even more difficulty. This is what we reviewed with the players. But we will not go so far as to change the way we play or build matches.

Your winning streak (14) ended in Dublin. Do you feel a sense of revenge for that before challenging the Scots?
Players want to start a new series. We have three matches left to win in this Six Nations.

Have you been tempted to call them to order?
No not at all. These are young players who accumulate experience with the France team or with their clubs and who therefore manage to analyze matches very quickly. Above all, they don’t look for excuses, that’s why we have to trust them. Our role is to accompany them. The players also have the right to be less well at certain times, it’s also the same for us.

“Dupont? I don’t know a nation that wouldn’t put the best player in the world on the pitch »

Don’t you expect Romain Ntamack to weigh a little more on the conduct of the game?
No, Romain is where you expect him. Above all, we ask that he not be the only master on board. He must be seconded, assisted. The players around him must also give him information. Afterwards, he must make the right choices, of course, but for that there must be communication around him so that he can move around better and get his team to play well. Romain is someone who goes very quickly in his analyzes and his understanding. We have to play our premium players if we want them to acquire the experience necessary to compete with the best, including Ireland’s Jonny Sexton, who is 37 years old. Our players must chain the selections.

Is it also with this in mind that there should be very few changes in the team that will start against Scotland?
Making too many changes would be complicated. We would start each time on a new blank page and we absolutely want us to have this continuity on the team that starts, on our finishers, on the 42 and on the players who push to enter the locker room and come and get what jersey. This is our philosophy and we will go like this until the end.

Antoine Dupont has already played eighty minutes twice in this Tournament, aren’t you afraid of becoming too dependent on him?
No, I don’t know a nation that wouldn’t put the best player in the world on the pitch. With us, in November, he only made two matches since he was suspended (after a tackle in the air on Cheslin Kolbe against South Africa). We also didn’t take him in July for the Japan Tour, which means he only has five matches left in the Tournament. He is also the captain of the team, he has to be on the pitch.

“As soon as Finn (Russell) sets foot on the field, it’s like a kid going to recess. It’s his thing. As soon as there is a ball, it is everywhere, it makes incredible gestures, it never stops. »

How do you view Scotland fly-half Finn Russell?
I’m already going to have a lot of fun seeing him again because I trained him for two years at Racing 92. He’s an extraordinary player who brings people to the stadium. Sometimes you might think he’s just a strategist, that he’s not interested in winning, that he doesn’t care, but on the contrary, he’s a competitor and a very pleasant guy to train because It’s the same on weekdays as on weekends. As soon as he sets foot on the pitch, it’s like a kid going to recess. It’s his thing. As soon as there is a ball, it is everywhere, it makes incredible gestures, it never stops. If he misses a gesture, he immediately tries to do it again, always with a smile.

Does the Scottish team, which won its first two matches, surprise you?
Of course you have to be careful with her. They are the only team that have beaten us twice in the Six Nations in three years. It’s a very athletic team, we know what awaits us on Sunday. »

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