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Last Updated: Thursday, 20 November, 2003, 13:15 GMT
Laporte lauds French campaign
Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili in action
Scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili scored eight points in the match
France coach Bernard Laporte hailed his team's World Cup campaign despite their play-off defeat to New Zealand.

The All Blacks won 40-13, but Laporte was keen to focus on his team's tournament as a whole.

"We shouldn't lose sight of the fact we reached the semi-finals of the World Cup," he said.

"We had the chance to attack the New Zealand line with the score at 14-13. Then there were two tries in 10 minutes and the game was lost.

"But if you take a step back and look at it, we've had a good World Cup. We made the semi-finals.

"While we shouldn't cover up the truth of what went wrong, we should be content with that."

We made the semi-finals and played some great rugby on the way - there are many people who would like to be in our position
Bernard Laporte
France have reached the last four in each of the last three World Cups.

And Laporte took pride in the fact that his team performed so well when pundits gave them little chance.

"There were times when we didn't play as well and there were times that we played fantastic, like in the first half against the Irish," he added.

"If we had played like this throughout, I am sure we would have made the final.

"We had the team to beat England, but rather than regrets we need to look at what went right and what went wrong and focus on the young players coming through.

"Rather than look at the fragility, it's important to take lessons so that we can move forward and become a force in the Six Nations."

One of the youngsters Laporte will be placing his faith in the future is scrum-half Dimitri Yachvili, who came in for retired skipper Fabien Galthie.

"The team came together only three to four days before the game and didn't have the same rhythm as the All Blacks. That cost us," said Yachvili.

"The defensive movement up in the line wasn't always co-ordinated perfectly. We lost some tries from that."

Team manager Jo Maso blamed the short turnaround between matches for the defeat.

"It is always interesting to try to get on the podium, but if the organisers want more of a game, then more than four days recuperation is needed," he said.





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