France talk up turnaround


NZPA     15 Nov 2006     Photosport

They must turn around the 3-47 first up hammering at Lyon over the weekend without long-serving captain Fabien Pelous, who was ruled out with rib damage yesterday.

Fellow-lock Pascal Pape spoke for the players when called on by his team to produce the pride necessary for a major turnaround.

"I've been through all my thoughts, the frustration, the shame," Pape told French newspaper l'Equipe.

"The 22 players who return for this game have the chance to do something incredible."

According to coach Bernard Laporte, his players were "less crushed to pieces" than two years ago when the All Blacks won 45-6 at Stade de France.

Unlike in 2004, France managed to win 60 percent of the ball and territory at Lyon, proof of progress to Laporte. But he admitted the Six Nations champions couldn't yet compare themselves with New Zealand.

"There was pride in Lyon, but that's not enough against the All Blacks," Laporte told reporters from his team base in Marcoussis, on the Paris outskirts.

"We must rediscover our solidarity and our fluidity."