Noves: ‘Ac­cept de­feat when it is well earned by oth­ers . . .’

The Herald - Herald Sport - - SIX NATIONS - KEVIN FERRIE

GUY NOVES has had more em­bar­rass­ing mo­ments in Ed­in­burgh than when hav­ing to talk away be­com­ing the first French coach to suf­fer de­feat at the hands of Scot­land in more than a decade and the man who was marched off the pitch by po­lice af­ter his Toulouse team had won the 2005 Heineken Cup fi­nal con­se­quently seemed un­flus­tered as he sought to do so.

Ap­pointed to re­place Philippe Sain­tAn­dre, who was con­sid­ered by many to have knocked all the style out of this most flam­boy­ant of rugby na­tions, this was the sort of re­sult that had the po­ten­tial to un­der­mine Noves’ regime from the ear­li­est stages. There was, af­ter all, a sense that his best days were be­hind him even be­fore his long stint with what re­mains Europe’s most suc­cess­ful club side ended.

There are sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween the two jobs in that both Toulouse and France seem to have lost the spe­cial qual­i­ties that lent both teams a mys­tique and en­sured that they were feared by all op­po­nents.

Gone, it would seem, is the fa­bled flair with ec­cen­tric home­grown tal­ent re­placed in many cases by im­ports who per­haps of­fer more in the way of con­sis­tency, but are less likely to change games with mo­ments of bril­liance.

How much this per­for­mance was down to what Noves has in­her­ited and how much can be at­trib­uted to his in­put is moot at this stage, then, just four matches af­ter he re­placed Saint-An­dre fol­low­ing France’s unin­spired ef­forts at the World Cup.

A ven­er­a­ble fig­ure th­ese days his track record de­mands re­spect, how­ever, and so, too, did his words as he of­fered a hint of Kipling-es­que phi­los­o­phy laced with the re­al­ism of the de­mands of pro­fes­sional sport.

“Some­times we have to ac­cept de­feat when it is well earned by the oth­ers. The point of view of the sportsper­son is made out of de­feats and vic­to­ries, but we shouldn’t close our eyes to things that went wrong to­day. This is the be­gin­ning of our job,” he as­serted.

There was gen­eros­ity of spirit in his as­sess­ment of his hosts’ con­tri­bu­tion to the hum­bling of a team rep­re­sent­ing a na­tion that had seen its team lose just once in Ed­in­burgh in the pre­vi­ous 20 years, sug­gest­ing as he did that this re­sult for Scot­land in a com­pet­i­tive match against one of the lead­ing na­tions was over­due.

“Scot­land won and had the right to win,” said Noves. “Against Aus­tralia in the World Cup they should won but fate was dif­fer­ent.”

In say­ing so he un­der­stand­ably pre­ferred to fo­cus on his own team’s ef­forts and made the point that Vern Cot­ter, his coun­ter­part whom he knows well from many ma­jor bat­tles in the French do­mes­tic arena when the New Zealan­der was in charge of Cler­mont Au­vergne, has had rather longer to in­stil what he is seek­ing into his charges.

“I would pre­fer to talk about the French team, but be­cause this Scot­tish team has had time to train and progress we can be tol­er­ant of al­low­ing this team to beat us to­day,” Noves ob­served.

Fur­ther­more he felt that France gave away the ini­tia­tive af­ter start­ing in a man­ner which threat­ened to make this a chas­ten­ing week­end for the Scots fol­low­ing their ex­cite­ment at fi­nally end­ing a record­break­ing Six Na­tions los­ing run in Italy 15 days ear­lier.

“The French team started well and were head­ing for a dy­namic game, but the mis­takes that were pro­duced changed the course of the game,” Noves reck­oned.

“In the be­gin­ning I felt the Scot­tish team was dom­i­nated, but then the French play­ers were pe­nalised be­cause of the mis­takes they were mak­ing and went from lead­ing 5-0 to be­ing 6-5 be­hind which has al­lowed the Scot­tish team to take ad­van­tage and change the match their way and con­trol it from there.

“We have a team that is dy­namic and wants to pro­duce and get re­sults, but the prob­lem is that it is hard to talk about progress when the play­ers drop the ball.”

HIGHS AND LOWS: French play­ers ponder what just hap­pened as Scot­land revel in what just hap­pened for the se­cond time in a row . . .

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.