France back-rower Jean-Baptiste Lachaise insisted there is lots of room for improvement following a hard-fought 13-11 win over Italy that kick-started their 2021 Six Nations Under-20s campaign.
Les Bleuets had suffered a stunning 38-22 defeat at the hands of England in Round 1 after being 19-3 in front at the interval, and the Italians added to their misery when Simone Gesi’s brilliant try momentarily put them on top back at Cardiff Arms Park.
But the 2018 Championship winners responded in perfect fashion, with Nelson Epee finishing off a 50-metre score almost immediately after the restart, while dogged defence for much of the game’s remainder proved enough for the win.
Having been forced to make twice as many tackles as Italy over 80 minutes, Lachaise acknowledged there were still aspects to work on, but the Bordeaux Bègles star believes winning momentum will stand them in good stead going forward.
He said: “This win will do a lot of good for us. We can look back at the battle and how we dealt with the challenge. However, we made a lot of mistakes, so it’s up to us to erase all that and to be more disciplined for the future.
“We must quickly switch on back in training to prepare for the meeting against Wales on Thursday. We always have in mind to win the competition, and we’ll keep working hard towards that goal.”
A showdown with Wales – who are hosting all of this year’s Six Nations Under-20s clashes due to Covid-19 – promises a fierce contest, with Ioan Cunningham’s men looking to bounce back from their Round 2 40-12 loss to 2019 Grand Slam winners Ireland.
Maxime Baudonne – who came on for France as a 12th-minute replacement against Italy and played a key role in Epee’s try – echoed Lachaise’s hopes of stepping up another gear in their Round 3 encounter.
He added: “We know there are things to review and work on despite the win, and we will work to rectify the situation.
“But we will have a strong mindset in the next game. With that state of mind we’re going to be better against Wales, and we’ll make sure we keep improving.”