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Szarzewski: I hope Brian O'Driscoll won't finish like he started in Paris

The France hooker says he is disappointed with how the national team is being treated by the media.

Szarzewski and his flowing locks are unhappy with the French media.
Szarzewski and his flowing locks are unhappy with the French media.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

FRANCE HOOKER DIMITRI Szarzewski says he has been disappointed by the negativity surrounding the national team in the French rugby media.

Newspapers, radio and TV in the home of les Blues have been united in criticising Philippe Saint-André’s side following another disappointing performance in the win over Scotland last weekend.

Speaking on RMC Sport last night, former France back row Sébastien Chabal and Toulon head coach Bernard Laporte questioned Saint-André’s leadership, with the former noting that France are “in the sh*t” at present.

Nicolas Mas yesterday walked out of a press conference after taking exception to a line of questioning based around the current troubles of the French scrum, while Szarzewsi has also taken issue with the media’s lack of support.

“We are disappointed by the the critics,” the Racing Métro man told Rugbyrama. “I feel that sometimes the media would like us to lose games we don’t deserve to win. They should be the biggest supporters of the the French team!

“We’re all in the same boat, we all have the same goal of being world champions and yet, sometimes the criticism creates extra doubt and pressure, which is felt on the pitch. We’re used to it, but it is frustrating.

“I would like the media to get behind us more and be supporters of the French team.”

Irish challenge

Turning to the matter at hand, namely the Six Nations clash with Ireland in Paris on Saturday, Szarzewski admitted that France faced a demanding test. The fact that Joe Schmidt’s men will be intent on providing Brian O’Driscoll with a perfect parting gift complicates matters even further.

We’re going to play a very good team and we expect a huge battle. I hope O’Driscoll won’t finish like he started, with three tries against us. We want to finish with the honours and a win against this formidable, effective team.”

Szarzewski is almost certain to come back into the starting XV for France, particularly given the struggles of Brich Mach and Guilhem Guirado against Scotland. However, the former Stade Français front row rejected the notion that he is some sort of saviour.

“Of course not, we shouldn’t speak like that! I have been there too, I have had my failures with the French team. It’s the coaching staff who will make the decision. I’m here to help my teammates and enjoy it. Everyone wants to show a different face, but we must remember that we won.”

Les Inséparables: Here’s a quick catch-up on Ireland’s recent meetings with France

Analysis: France’s counter-attack poses huge threat to Ireland’s Six Nations dreams

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