"French players are not given the time to recover" - Philippe Saint-Andre

The former France Head Coach joined Ger and Brian O'Driscoll on tonight's Off The Ball

Former France Head Coach, Philippe Saint-Andre, believes that French players aren't given enough time to recover and the constant schedule of games in the Top 14 is impacting on the national squad.

Saint-Andre was speaking on Friday's Off The Ball, alongside Brian O'Driscoll, and gave an idea of how many games top class French players must play during the season.

"When I started coaching, I picked two guys and said these two guys can be the best in the world" he began.

One of those players was centre, Wesley Fofana.

"The first Six Nations, he was amazing. Three years later, he had played 120 games in three years, he was absolutely exhausted. The guys have problems with knee, ankle, shoulder."

By comparison, Brian O'Driscoll said that he played 133 times for the Ireland and togged out 186 times for Leinster over the course of a career spanning 15 years.

"The guys who don't play rugby say 'Well that's their profession', but when you know the sport and when you know the impact and how tough it is on the body, you need time to prepare." 

Saint-Andre went on to explain that the national team has also suffered due to the affluence of the league.

"Our French league is so competitive, with so much money involved. It's a little bit like the English soccer league. When you are French coach you realise that in some areas it goes against the players. We have gerat clubs, like the final of the Heineken Cup, Clermont against Toulon.

"In that final 46 players were internationals, but of the 46 players, only eight were French internationals. And of the eight guys, five was on the bench.

"So after you realise that French rugby was superb because the young guys were playing, but not for the last six or seven years.

"The problem is that the best [French] players play 11 months here and the rugby is so hard and so competitive."

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