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Saturday, 15 February, 2003, 20:01 GMT
Laporte rues indiscipline
Gerald Merceron is handed off by Richard Hill at Twickenham
Merceron (left) was not on form against England
French coach Bernard Laporte criticised his side's indiscipline after their 25-17 defeat to England.

"We gave away nine points in the first half because of silly faults and we had two penalties and a conversion that we failed to score," he said after the Twickenham encounter.

"That makes 17 points difference and you can't expect to give England that kind of advantage and expect to beat them.

It isn't finished because we both have to go to Ireland

Bernard Laporte

"If we want to beat this kind of team at home we have show better self-control.

"It is frustrating because there were a lot of positives and we managed to stop them playing.

"But we ended up losing because of mistakes in an area where we had been performing much better."

Laporte contrasted the form of his fly-half Gerald Merceron, who was wayward with the boot, with that of England kicker Jonny Wilkinson.

"Gerald must find his kicking form and become a world-class kicker again," said Laporte.

Wilkinson, however, landed all his kicks, scoring 20 points, and the French coach was quick to praise him.

"He has that capacity to impose himself on a match," said Laporte.

"When you see talent like that you have to recognise it."

Despite the defeat, Laporte insisted that there was still all to play for in the Six Nations tournament.

"There are still four matches to go. We have a tough trip to Ireland and England have to go there as well," he said.

"It is not because we lost the first match that the tournament is finished."


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