France made too many errors in their victory over Italy according to skipper Antoine Dupont, who accepted responsibility for some of his own struggles in Paris.
In just his second game since mid-December, Dupont was not at his sharpest, but still chipped in with a try-assist for Damian Penaud’s bonus-point score in the 37-10 success.
With the rain pouring down for much of the match, it was never going to be easy for Les Bleus to unleash their free-flowing game but they still managed to run in five tries.
And while Dupont knows that they will need to improve on this performance, he was also happy to get a bit more rugby under his belt ahead of a blockbuster clash with Ireland at the Stade de France next weekend.
He said: “We made lots of mistakes this evening, lots of handling errors in difficult conditions. But we got the result and we can be satisfied with that. It’s always difficult to play Italy at home, we know the energy they come at you with every time.
“Despite that, there were too many approximations all over the pitch, we gave them things too easily, lots of penalties, knock-ons in our half. We had to get that right, to be more serious and cleaner. We knew the chances would come after that. A bit like the team, I made quite a few handling errors, some wrong choices, but I got some rhythm and feeling back.”
France were without coach Fabien Galthié for this game, the coach having tested positive for Covid during the week.
It remains to be seen whether he will be able to attend next week’s game, but team manager Raphaël Ibanez revealed that Galthié has already started looking at how to cope with in-form Ireland.
And he admitted that it will take an improved to display to get the better of Andy Farrell’s men, who powered to a 29-7 win over defending champions Wales in Round 1.
Ibanez said: “The performance of Ireland against Wales was not a surprise. We’re talking about the fourth best team in the world. The challenge for us all is to make sure that the six days between us and the Ireland game are as complete as possible. We know that we will need to raise our game, we will do so.
“Fabien Galthié has already started analysing the Ireland game plan. This week we will have just one big training session, on Wednesday. But here it will be the team desire that will count the most.”