PARIS (Reuters) - France’s Rugby World Cup will be considered a success only if they reach the final, coach Philippe Saint-Andre has said.
The team, though, will have their task cut out as Les Bleus have never won more than three matches in a row since Saint-Andre took over from Marc Lievremont after they finished runners-up at the 2011 World Cup.
“The goal is to play a great World Cup. (It means) coming back home in November. (It means finishing) first or second,” the former France captain told sports daily L‘Equipe on Tuesday.
“We’re not favourites but we have what it takes to beat any team on one game.”
France start their campaign with a Pool D match against Italy before taking on Romania, Canada and Ireland.
France last won three matches in a row when they beat Australia, Argentina and Samoa in November, 2012.
Saint-Andre blamed the poor statistics on the fact that he never had enough kickers at his disposal.
“We lost four or five games because our number one kicker or the one we had at the end of the match, failed,” he said.
”I need world class kickers like (Frederic) Michalak, (Rory) Kockott, (Morgan) Parra. And (Scott Spedding) for the long-distance kicks.
“Before, our rivals could be penalised until the 40-metre line. Not anymore.”
After two and a half months of preparation, Saint-Andre is convinced his squad is ready.
“We are ready to enter the competition. The guys are fit, they’ve been living like in a club. Now, let’s go,” he said.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly