Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lievremont proud of valiant defeat

France coach Marc Lievremont was proud in defeat after his side lost to New Zealand in Sunday's Rugby World Cup final.

The French suffered a closely fought 7-8 defeat to the All Blacks at Auckland's Eden Park.

France were the first team to have lost twice in pool play to make the final, and in the end they were unable to crack a determined home side which refused to yield the penalty that could have given the visitors the chance they were seeking in a tight second half.

After seeing his side head into the interval trailing 0-5, Lievremont said he believed France could mount a second-half comeback.

"And so it proved when we scored our try," Lieveremont said. "It was all one-way traffic in the second half and there was very little margin in the end."

Lievremont admitted to having mixed feelings afterwards, but added that he was proud of his side's gallant display.

"I have contrasting emotions. I'm tremendously sad but I'm tremendously proud too," Lievremont said.

"We always said the All Blacks are the best team of all time but tonight France were great. But we needed a little bit more."

The players had made promises to themselves ahead of the final and he felt they had kept those promises, Lievremont added.

Captain, and man of the match, Thierry Dusautoir, said he was disappointed not to be able to steal an unlikely win.

"I don't feel like criticising the referee (Craig Joubert), he is one of the best in the world and today we didn't do enough to get a penalty that could have given us the lead," Dusautoir said.

"I am very proud of the team but we didn't do enough to get more points."

A notably dejected Dusautoir could not help ponder what might have been.

"It is a moment we will remember all our lives. If we had achieved a victory and won the trophy it would have been fantastic," he said.

"We just missed achieving a great performance. It was our last chance. We know it is a unique moment to reach the final stage in the competition."

"We were mentally strong and it is not always skills and combinations that win games. A lot of it is mental, maybe we needed more skills." 

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