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Laporte praises youngsters

Photosport

Sportal.co.nz     03 Jun 2007     Photosport

A lot of 'guts' had been shown through all the team and all the side played well.

"Eleven of the 22 played their first game, there was a lot of feeling and I would like to congratulate them," he said.

However, Laporte said they didn't understand the refereeing very well as one All Blacks try had involved an unsighted forward pass while on another occasion a very short advantage was played to France after a knock on.

He felt that while the French scrum had been troubled by the All Blacks at the start of the game, towards the end, the scrum had matched the All Blacks, while the lineout saw the French as good as the All Blacks.

The All Blacks were obviously the favourites for the World Cup because they had good players in so many positions.

But he added: "When you start in first position in the Grand Prix it doesn't always mean you are going to win the race".

French captain Pascal Pape said that while the goal of the side had been to finish close to the All Blacks, there was disappointment that they conceded tries from small mistakes, and the All Blacks always capitalised on mistakes.

Asked to compare the effort with last year's 3-47 loss to the All Blacks in the first Test in Lyon, Pape said: "We never gave up here today compared to Lyon the spirit in the team was far better, we never gave up, we knew what we were going to do in defence."