Friday 19 January 2018

Watch: 'That is crazy for international guys in this day and age' - The 'mental' training methods used by France Newsdesk Newsdesk

France are beginning to resemble their old selves under Guy Noves after a disappointing couple of seasons.

The former Toulouse coach endured a tough first Six Nations campaign in charge of his country, with France only winning two games en route to a fifth place finish.

Before Noves, Philippe Saint-Andre was in charge for four seasons without achieving much success while before him, Marc Lievremont enjoyed a tumultuous four-year spell at the helm.

On this week's episode of The Left Wing, Luke Fitzgerald sheds some light on the struggles France have had in recent times, in particular focusing on some of their training methods which he feels haven't given the side the best chance to succeed.

"From having talked to some of the guys after games, they never stood a chance against us," Fitzgerald said.

"We had Joe Schmidt who had everything organised, we all knew our roles. These guys [French players] were brilliant rugby players. Some of the training they were doing - They were saying they prepared for a game against Fiji - who had a lot of guys who could intercept passes - by passing the ball to each other over a wall. Mental carry on."

Fitzgerald also feels that in recent seasons the French team may have been the victims of overtraining, which has prevented their skillful players from reaching their potential.

"I know they did two-a-day sessions on their feet," Fitzgerald said.

"That is crazy for international guys in this day and age. You might do one or two of them, possibly, in pre-season but it is an absolute war zone in the Top 14, they've probably played 25 fixtures so far [this season]. These guys are brilliant athletes, you just have to manage them."

Since the 2011 World Cup, Ireland have won three, drawn two and lost one of the six clashes with France.

Watch Fitzgerald's full comments on France, and Ireland's other Six Nations opponents in The Left Wing clip below:

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