We played with our hearts – France

2011-10-15 14:11

Adnaan Mohamed in Auckland, New Zealand

France coach Marc Lièvremont says there are a lot of people annoyed that they have qualified for the final of the Rugby World Cup after their 9-8 semifinal win over Wales at Eden Park today.

“I think we played with our hearts,” an elated Lièvremont said after the game. “We have qualified for the final and that is all that counts.”

On his team’s performance he said: "We had a guardian angel tonight. Towards the end, the Welsh were still just 45m away, but I was quite serene.

“We had to be concerned about a drop goal. We had to be present in the ruck areas and move on (fly half Stephen) Jones without getting a penalty. But I am just happy that we managed to hold on,” he said.

Lièvremont says his team did not start well and they lost confidence early on. “When they went down to 14 and we had 15, we were still inhibited. But that does not matter. What matters is when they scored (a try) we kept our composure.

“I will not brood or be unhappy because it was not our best game. What matters is we are going to the final.”

He says he was not worried that his team advanced to the final without scoring a try in the semifinal. “We did not dare take chances. We were inhibited when they had 14 and we had 15. It made us nervous and that was the paradoxical thing about the game.”

He says he would prefer playing the All Blacks in the final. “In our wildest dreams, we always thought we would play the All Blacks.
“I will always be an All Blacks supporter unless we play them.”

On whether the French are a team of destiny he said: “We had a narrow escape and we are alive and kicking. We did not play the most spectacular game, but we are still here. We know we are privileged.”

France captain Thierry Dusautoir says they were nervous when Wales scored the try, but they did not panic. “When they scored the try and when they tried the convert, we were scared. In our mind, he was going to get the conversion.

“But our experience helped us in the end.” He says he told his team-mates just to stay calm.

On what it is like going to the final, he said: “Let me assure you I am delighted to go to the final despite the game we had today.” 

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