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Rugby | Six Nations

Draw feels like defeat - Saint Andre

France were left to reflect on the "feeling of defeat" after a 17-17 draw at home toIreland ended their Six Nations grand slam hopes on Sunday, manager Philippe Saint Andre said.

Les Bleus gave away two tries in the first half and trailed 17-6 at halftime before mounting a fightback.

"There was a feeling of defeat, not that of a draw in the dressing room," Saint Andre told a news conference.

France are second in the standings behind Wales, the only team still in position to achieve a grand slam after winning three out of three.

Captain Thierry Dusautoir said France should have won a game they dominated, at least in terms of possession.

"The win was within our grasp," he told reporters.

"But when you give away so many points you just get what you deserve."

Tommy Bowe scored his first try after he intercepted a clumsy pass by Aurelien Rougerie and touched down for the second time after France lost a routine ball in the ruck.

"When you give away 10 points, it's really hard to win the match against Ireland, who defended very well and bothered us with their umbrella defence," said Saint Andre.

The former France winger, however, was proud of his players, saying they showed great character to come back into the game.

"At 17-6 I asked the players to be more direct because it had started to rain and it was a bit like Irish weather out there," he said.

"We had ambitions, a desire to go forward, but at the highest level, you have to be much more precise."

France host England next Sunday and Ireland take on Scotland on Saturday.

Ireland were equally disappointed with the result after failing to score in the second half.

"I am disappointed for the lads, they put in a huge effort," said Ireland coach Declan Kidney.

"We believed in ourselves, we played our own game and did not panic in the second half.

"If you're not disappointed after a result like that you should not be in the job."

Like the French, captain Paul O'Connell said there was a feeling of defeat in the drssing room.

"We have the feeling we lost an opportunity," he said.

"We are very disappointed with our second half performance, we turned over the ball a few times. We're very frustrated, very disappointed."


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