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Ibanez praises spirited France after final defeat to England

Ibanez praises spirited France after final defeat to England

Ibanez praises spirited France after final defeat to England

Pride was the overwhelming emotion for Raphael Ibanez after France suffered a heartbreaking sudden death defeat to England in the inaugural Autumn Nations Cup final.

Les Bleus appeared on course to make it two wins from two against the Red Rose in 2020, having already stunned Eddie Jones’ men in the Guinness Six Nations back in February.

A try from Brice Dulin plus eight points from the boot of Matthieu Jalibert put the visitors 13-6 up at the break before Louis Carbonel added two more penalties after the restart.

Owen Farrell closed the gap with two penalties of his own but France seemed to be home and dry as the clocked ticked towards 80 minutes with a commanding 19-12 advantage.

But Luke Cowan-Dickie’s try at the death, converted by Farrell, sent the game to sudden death before Farrell landed the winning points with five minutes left of extra time.

France’s side contained no members of the starting XV which beat England in the Six Nations earlier this year due to an agreement between the national set-up and Top 14 clubs.

And when asked how he was feeling after France were denied silverware in a dramatic finale, one word came to the mind of Les Bleus team manger Ibanez more than any other.

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“I think it’s pride, just pride,” he said. “We didn’t get away with a win but the boys just delivered so much. We congratulate them. Congratulations to England as well.

“Our game plan worked pretty well. The players were so committed all week. We just focused on our game plan. The good thing is we’ve got so many talented players.

“I think they were outstanding today. It’s a great opportunity for us as a coaching staff, to see the players who can perform at the highest level. It’s very promising for the future.”

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