Guy Noves sums up French mentality for Ireland game better than we ever could
Guy Noves needs his team of novices and nearly-men to beat Ireland and do it in style. Welcome to life as coach of the French national team.
It was not always the way. France were imperious all the way up to 2010. Since then, drought has set in.
Les Bleus scraped to a 23-21 win over Italy last weekend and need to put Ireland away before they go on the road. Anything other than a win would puncture their fanciful title hopes.
Looking to keep things fresh, Noves has drafted in six new players for the lot that often flattered to deceive against Italy.
However, the former Toulouse coach insists none of his players were dropped. He does not believe in the concept. In fact, he summed up Saturday's Test better than we ever could. Noves said:
"In my mind, there are no starting players or substitutes. In modern rugby, the term substitute is out of place.
"As a former track and field athlete, I compare this to a relay - The one who crosses the finish line is in all the pictures, but you can't forget the one who ran before him.
"No-one has been dropped. We are creating an atmosphere where everyone needs to be on their toes, and we want to see all the players that are part of this squad. If they don't get a chance, we'll never know what they are worth."
Noves was not revealing, either, who will be taking penalties and conversions [if any] tomorrow.
Jules Plisson was the unlikely hero against Italy but is down the pecking order for his club. Noves commented:
"They will go to Stade de France [later today] for a practice session, which they were not able to do last week.
"As usual, I will let the boys decide. If Jules is feeling good and want to keep kicking, he will. If Sébastien Bézy wants to take over, he will. We will accept their decision."