Dublin: France captain Thierry Dusautoir said he was hoping to leave the pitch after the Six Nations match with Ireland on Saturday with a smile on his face having recorded their first win of the tournament.
The 31-year-old flanker – who will equal the French record of captaining the side for the 34th time – added thoughts of a first wooden spoon since 1957 and that France were near to equalling their worst overall winless run in the tournament in almost 90 years hadn’t entered his head.
Dusautoir, who initially was replaced as captain for the tournament by lock Pascal Pape but was restored when the latter was injured in the opening defeat by Italy, said everyone was focused on winning their first game of this Six Nations after other losses to Wales and England.
“The wooden spoon hasn’t played on my mind this week,” he said.
“I have only been thinking of a victory which will see me walk off the Lansdowne Road pitch with a smile on my face having won our first game of the tournament.
“The rest (the wooden spoon) will not be decided tomorrow (Saturday) but over the next two matches,” added Dusautoir, referring to the Irish game and then the final one on Saturday week at home to Scotland.
Dusautoir, who was named world player of the year in 2011 largely thanks to his outstanding displays at the World Cup which saw France lose 8-7 to hosts the All Blacks in the final, said there was a determined air about the squad.
“The spirit in the camp this week has been one of great eagerness to at last win a match.
“We have continued to refine our interplay, and our game so we can express ourselves to the best of our ability. We have a box of tools and we have several we can use to win the argument on the pitch. It is not the simplest of games but that is also what is so exciting.”
Dusautoir, who came into the tournament relatively rusty having been injured for several months, said he and the squad weren’t over confident despite France’s excellent record – just one defeat (2009) and one draw (2012) in their last 13 tests since 2003 – against the Irish.
“The most important thing for us is that we lost three games in this championship,” said Duasutoir.
“I don’t think the guys care much about the overall recent record with Ireland.
“We know that we can turn things round a little with a win, even if it is always difficult coming here.”
The Ivory Coast-born Toulouse star said he could scarcely believe he was equalling the record of captaining the side – present coach Philippe Saint-Andre and Jean-Pierre Rives having also skippered them 34 times.
“I am going to have the luck to captain the side for the 34th time, who would have thought it!
“But that is anecdotal in the present context. I hope that a win tomorrow will give me the possibility to celebrate that fact with my team-mates.
“It is true I have never experienced three successive defeats in the same Six Nations. But I have known other difficult times. However, I know from previous experience this team has ability, that it is still capable of getting out of this tight corner.
“The team has been subject to enormous criticism but it has the necessary temperament to rouse itself and get back on its feet.”
Dusautoir said it was irrelevant for the moment that if France fail against Ireland they will equal their unwanted record of their predecessors in 1926 and 1927 of a winless run of seven Five/Six Nations matches.
“I’m hoping we win. If we don’t then we can talk about that (the winless run) tomorrow,” he said.