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Rugby | Six Nations

Philippe Saint-Andre © Gallo Images

France blame themselves for defeat



France had no-one but themselves to blame for Sunday's shock defeat to Italy in their Six Nations opener, players and manager Philippe Saint-Andre said.

"We dropped too many balls," flanker and former captain Thierry Dusautoir was quoted as saying in French media on Monday. "Italy were just better."

"We lacked coherence," summed up Dimitri Szarzewski, while fellow hooker Benjamin Kayser concluded: "We are now in a bad position but that's our fault."

France, the 2011 World Cup runners-up, were upset 23-18 in Rome, two years after slumping to their first Six Nations defeat against Italy, and their clumsiness cost them dear.

Fulgence Ouedraogo and Wesley Fofana had an opportunity on the stroke of halftime, when France were 15-13 up, but Fofana fluffed a routine pass.

"In the second half, we lost two tricky balls in a line-out," forwards coach Yannick Bru told French media.

"We beat their defence many times but instead of scoring we conceded tries on counter-attacks. We were less efficient, much less rigorous."

Saint-Andre said his side had needed more precision, adding: "We should have put more pressure (on them), as we did in the first half."

However, the manager said the defeat to an improving Italy side needed to be put into perspective.

"We have not lost the tournament," Saint-Andre said. "Of course we've lost the grand slam but we know that this competition is rough, atypical and difficult."

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