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'No thoughts' on Boks as France battle 'resentment and bitterness'

SPOTLIGHT: Assistant coach William Servat admitted Monday that France would carry the “scars” of their Six Nations defeat by Ireland in Marseille into their next game against Scotland in Edinburgh at the weekend.

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The former France hooker watched from the touchline on Friday as his side was brutally dismantled by the Irish whose 38-17 win was their biggest ever on French soil.

“I wasn’t expecting that,” said Servat.

“We prepared very well for this match but the reality is that we missed out. I don’t think we got our strategy wrong but we didn’t do what we wanted to do.

“We came away with a lot of resentment and bitterness.

“The Scotland match will be prepared with the scars of that game against Ireland.”

Servat, however, said head coach Fabien Galthie and his staff as well as the players had analysed their failure and “we think we’ve found the keys to bouncing back very quickly”.

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France lost Paul Willemse to a 32nd-minute red card but only allowed Ireland to pull clear in the last quarter.

“It was a difficult match but, in spite of everything, up to the 58th minute we were only a converted try behind.”

Servat insisted that France’s lacklustre showing had nothing to do with the crushing disappointment of a narrow quarterfinal defeat to South Africa in their home World Cup in October, a tournament they believed they could win.

“We didn’t prepare for the Ireland game with any thoughts whatsoever of the South Africa game,” he said.

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“It was prepared with the experience of South Africa but in no way with the stigma.

“This match had nothing to do with the World Cup.”

With Willemse suspended and injuries affecting prop Reda Wardi and lock Romain Taofifenua, changes will need to be made for the starting line-up at Murrayfield although Servat rules out total revamp.

“You always have to expect small adjustments,” he said.

“[But] it would be a mistake to dismiss everything out of hand. For players to have confidence, they need to feel that we trust them. So don’t expect any huge changes.”

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