Laporte: 'not over yet'

Laporte: 'not over yet'
By Eurosport

13/03/2006 at 16:33Updated

Bernard Laporte was in no mood to celebrate on Monday despite the euphoria of the French media following Sunday's 31-6 thrashing of England. France look certain to win the Six Nations if they beat Wales in Cardiff on Saturday but Laporte remained calm during an informal media briefing.

"We are happy to have won this match because games against England are always difficult and because the win gives us a good chance of winning the Six Nations," he said.

"We will travel to Cardiff to win the game against Wales and to win the championship, but we haven't won it yet."

France and Ireland, who play England at Twickenham on Saturday, each have six points from three wins and a defeat.

If both teams win - or both lose - the trophy will be awarded on points difference over all championship matches and France have the advantadge with +58 points to +30 of Ireland. England, on four points, have +18.

"Wales drew with Italy on Saturday but they could have scored four tries before the break. They are going through a difficult season but Wales are still Wales. They have a lot of pride and they will play at home", Laporte said.

The French coach admitted though that the good victory over England had set up a good week's preparation.

"It will enable us to work quietly and with the same squad all week barring bad surprises as five players are having X-rays", he said.

Team doctor Thierry Hermerel said the five were props Olivier Milloud and Pieter de Villiers, number eight Thomas Lievremont, centre Damien Traille and wing Aurelien Rougerie.

"They suffered back or rib injuries. We are not too worried but we need to check," he added.

Asked about the performance of his team against England, Laporte answered that his biggest satisfaction was that the players "tried to perform well in all sectors of the game."

"We had a lot of possession, we defended well and we took the opportunities when they came. It was by far our most controlled and complete game since our wins over Australia and South Africa in November," he said.

"To beat England by 25 points is no mean feat."

Laporte said he was sorry to learn that English media were heavily criticising England coach Andy Robinson and his players.

"I know what it is. They probably had a lot of doubts in their mind because they had lost their last game in Scotland and they were playing in Paris," he said.

"We were lucky to score early. We put them under pressure and when they came back into the game before the break and at the beginning of the second half we matched their physical power.

"We must respect the quality of English rugby. I shall even say that the more I play against them more I hold them in high esteem. Yesterday evening, at the official dinner, the players were affected by the defeat but they were strong in their mind."

"The speech of their captain (Martin Corry) was rather moving. It was beautiful to see that."

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