Jacques Brunel claims his France team must learn how to problem-solve on the pitch after admitting his team were outplayed by England during their heavy defeat at Twickenham.
England produced a constant aerial bombardment into the space behind the French defence during the 44-8 triumph, with all six of their tries coming from kicks through – four directly and two courtesy of the attacking platform created and territory gained from pinpoint grubbers or up-and-unders.
The starting French back three of Yoann Huget, Damian Penaud and Gaël Fickou were unable to adjust and counteract the English gameplan, meaning Les Bleus slipped to a second defeat in as many games of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations.
And Brunel was understandably downbeat in his post-match press conference, as they now turn their attention to a home clash against Scotland in Round Three.
“There is nothing to say, England were far better than us,” conceded Brunel. “In the first half, England put us under pressure, especially with their kicking game, and we couldn’t cope.
“We tried to resist as much as possible in the second half. Obviously I’m very, very disappointed and I’m most disappointed with what happened in the first half.
“The same thing seemed to have happened throughout the game – they had excellent kicking, we couldn’t get hold of the ball and when we did, there was no-one behind the line and England took the opportunity to get into that space.
“We have to accept that the English were a lot stronger than us – I’m very disappointed because again, like last weekend [a Round One defeat to Wales], we weren’t able to respond to a situation that kept recurring during the first half.
“We could have found solutions in the second half but that didn’t happen.”
A DIFFERENT LEVEL
Even normally formidable skipper Guilhem Guirado struggled in the first half, knocking on in midfield to give England ball for their first try, giving away a penalty which saw the hosts extend their lead to 8-0 and then overthrowing a promising attacking lineout as France looked to get back into the contest.
And Guirado was forced to concede that his team came out second best to a side who now top the Guinness Six Nations table with two wins from two.
“Simply we weren’t up to their level, in terms of rhythm and intensity,” said the hooker. “There was a feeling of a revolt when we scored, for fear of being thrashed. But in the end, it’s incidental.
“In the second half we broke through a lot but without scoring. Even if we tried to play as a team, we lacked consistency.
“The English strategy was simple. They broke through with set-plays and then really put us under pressure with their kicking game.”