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Saturday 19 August 2017

Top 14 hurting national game

France head coach Phillipe Saint-Andre and France captain Thierry Dusautoir
France head coach Phillipe Saint-Andre and France captain Thierry Dusautoir

France are going through another tough Six Nations campaign because the Top 14 league takes too much space in the rugby landscape, according to the French federation's technical director.

Didier Retiere, who was assistant coach when Les Bleus reached the World Cup final in 2011, believes however than France could perform well again on the biggest stage later this year.

"What is striking is that we've had the same problems with (coaches) Jean-Claude Skrela, Bernard Laporte, Marc Lievremont and now Philippe Saint-Andre," he said.

"We've been struggling to have a team able to perform at the international level on a regular basis. The environment does not help. The players are not prepared as they should be."

Retiere explained that the Top 14, the most competitive league in Europe, prevents young talent growing into world class players.

"The Top 14 puts immense pressure on everyone," he said.

"The president needs quick results to satisfy the sponsors, the coach needs quick results to save his job and the players face a huge competition within the squad."

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