France to play for pride

19 June 2017 | Sports

France will be playing for pride in the third test against South Africa, captain Guilhem Guirado said as they dip into last reserves at the end of a long season before heading off on holiday.

“We have one week left, the last of the season for us, to raise our heads. It will be a difficult week, no doubt,” he said after a second successive defeat to the Springboks cost them the series.

South Africa beat France 37-15 at the King's Park Rugby Stadium on Saturday in a bruising forward battle to add to their 37-14 win in Pretoria on June 10.

Guirado was one of eight changes that the French made for Saturday's match in Durban after fielding a weakened team in the first test.

A closer contest, however, did not materialise and France now face a series whitewash to add to a disappointing third place in this year's Six Nations Championship.

“We will remain focused until the end. We hammered the message all week, with the staff and the players, about finding a little pride.

“In terms of our commitment on the field, no player failed but there are always adjustments that can be made, both in defeat as well as after victories. I told the players we will play for our honour next Saturday. If we can win in Johannesburg, it will be with a great sense of pride.”

French coach Guy Noves said the defeat showed a “class of discrepancy” between his side and top southern hemisphere rugby-playing nations.

“We do not have much to say, because twice now we have conceded 37 points. We are realising what needs to be done in the coming months in order to compete more regularly with these nations.”

NAMPA/REUTERS

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