France’s preparation for their Six Nations clash against England failed to include the most basic elements of high level rugby, complains scrum half Morgan Parra following his side’s 44-8 thrashing at Twickenham.
France conceded six tries, five of them being the result of England’s offensive kicks that put them under pressure on Sunday and Parra’s words were damning for his team and their management.
“I think that we are capable of doing what the English do, but are we working on this during training? I think we don’t work on it enough, even not at all,” the 30-year-old said on Monday.
“Yet these are very simple things that are today part of high level rugby. We can do this. But do we work on it? No.”
France were all the more exposed that coach Jacques Brunel fielded two centres — Damian Penaud and Gael Fickou — on the wings and a winger — Yoann Huget — at fullback.
The trio were therefore not equipped to deal with England’s 47 kicks, despite edging total possession with 53 per cent of the ball over the entire match.
“Their kicking game was world-class,” said fullback Thomas Ramos, who only came on for the second half, where France limited the damage after reaching the interval 30-8 down.
England played in the empty spaces and France had no response for that simple strategy, resulting in their eighth defeat since beating Eddie Jones’s side in last year’s Six Nations.
With the title already well out of their reach, Les Bleus must avoid defeat against Scotland at the Stade de France on February 23 if they do not want to play a ‘wooden spoon’ clash in Rome against Italy in their last outing.
While the Crusaders and Hurricanes might be running away with the competition at the moment, the battles for the other finals spots are really hotting up and over the coming weeks teams are going to be desperate to find that form and momentum that gets them into business end of the season.