Thursday January 24, 2013
France hope to avoid late Six Nations injury scares
LONDON: France face an anxious wait to discover if any of their leading players will be late withdrawals from next weekend’s opening round of the Six Nations Championship.
Unlike most of their European rivals, France’s top players will be involved in domestic league action today and tomorrow and so run the risk of an injury that could rule them out of their Six Nations opener away to Italy on Feb 3.
By contrast, England’s squad are already in a training camp and their star names will not be involved in club matches this weekend.
“We are still waiting for Saturday, because there is the French League on Thursday (today) and Friday (tomorrow), so we just cross our fingers that we won’t have too many injuries,” said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, speaking at the Six Nations launch in London yesterday.
“We need to be as focused as possible with the few days (training) we have,” the former France captain added.
“The Six Nations is a fantastic event and it looks as if you run 100m but we start 10m behind (the other teams). So you need to run 110m.
“We just need to look after our best 33, 34 players like England do,” said Saint-Andre, who coached in England with Gloucester and Sale.
However, he added this had been a refrain of his predecessors as France coach.
France, who finished fourth in last season’s Six Nations, go into the tournament as one of the favourites after an impressive end-of-year series saw them finish 2012 with three successive home wins including an impressive 33-6 victory over Australia in Paris in November. — AFP