France fail in game of small margins

Thierry Dusautoir says France lacked the extra skill and luck needed to beat the All Blacks in Sunday’s World Cup final.

Addressing the media after the game, Dusautoir and coach Marc Lievremont said that they were proud of the team’s efforts in spite of the 8-7 result. France weren’t given much of a chance in the build up to this clash, but came within a couple of points of one of the great upsets in World Cup history.

‘We are very disappointed with the result, we didn’t do enough,’ the France captain said. ‘We’ve been lucky in previous rounds of this tournament, but we weren’t lucky tonight.

‘We did everything we set out to do except get the points and win the game. I was very happy when I scored that try [in the second half], because I knew it was close to the poles and it would mean the scoreline would be closer. But that was the last time I was happy, as while we continued to put pressure on the All Blacks, we just couldn’t convert that into points.

‘It was very difficult against this All Blacks team, and we needed just a little bit more tonight. Rugby is also about the mental [aspect], but perhaps we needed more skill on this occasion.’

The All Blacks defended brilliantly in the second half, effecting some telling turnovers deep inside their own territory. Both Dusautoir and Lievremont said they would not criticise referee Craig Joubert for blowing against the French in those situations.

‘I will not criticise him, he is one of the best in the world,’ said the captain. ‘Rugby is always difficult to ref, especially in that area. There were a lot of penalties against us, and maybe we weren’t close enough [to our ball carrier] in support.’

Lievremont, who will stand down as coach now that the World Cup has come to an end, also refused to make a negative statement about Joubert’s officiating at the breakdown.

‘I met with him two days ago and I said that he would have a great pressure on his shoulders. I promised him that what ever happened [in this final] that I would not criticise his performance.’

The fiery French attitude was apparent even before the kickoff, as the team joined hands and moved towards the All Blacks while the hosts performed the haka. Dusautoir said it was something the team had decided to do on the morning of the final.

‘It was a great moment and probably would have been remembered even more if the performance had been capped with a victory. We didn’t win and get the trophy but it was still fantastic, it was still a good story.

‘We had spoken about doing something [to counter the haka] during the week. We thought it would be a good idea, and made the call this morning [to go through with it].’

By Jon Cardinelli, at Eden Park