We must raise our game - Castaignede

Thomas Castaignede admitted France will need to step up a gear if they are to beat England after toiling to beat Italy 37-12 at the Stade de France.

Italy led 12-8 after an error-ridden first half but France improved after the break and underlined their dominance with tries from Yannick Nyanga, Pieter de Villiers, Aurelien Rougerie and Frederic Michalak.

France had recovered from their shock opening match defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield with victory over Ireland in Paris but failed to find their rhythm in an erratic first half display.

Thomas Lievremont’s try and a Jean-Baptiste Elissalde penalty were cancelled out by three penalties and a drop goal from Ramiro Pez and Castaignede acknowledged that the French have yet to fire on all cylinders.

“In the next game against England if we want to win we will have to do much better than we did today,” Castaignede said.

“At this level, whoever you play, you must do everything right and we didn’t today.

“We didn’t play well in the first half when we made mistakes.”

France coach Bernard Laporte has had injury disruptions to cope with – notably classy centre Yannick Jauzion – and Castaignede, who was operating at full-back today, believes that has been a factor in hit and miss performances.

“We certainly miss a guy like Jauzion a lot”, he added.

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