Despite being among the pre-tournament favourites France ended the 2012 competition back in fourth as Wales took the Grand Slam honours.
However while Wales dominated that tournament, France – free from the salary cap – remains the number one domestic destination for the world’s premier players.
Saint-André however views the standard and the allure of the Top 14 as a double-edged sword, insisting the competition’s star quality brings with it a barrier to the development of French talent.
As a result Les Bleus have an embarrassment of riches in the centres for their trip to Italy on Sunday but at tight-head prop and fly-half the cupboard is relatively bare leaving Saint-André unimpressed.
“France have huge competition in some positions for this Six Nations – at centre we have Maxime Mermoz, Florian Fritz, Wesley Fofana, Aurélien Rougerie, Mathieu Bastareaud and Yann David – but not so much at No 10 and also at tight-head prop,” he said.
“In France last season we had just two tight-heads who were first choice for their clubs.
“On the wing last year I would say that of the 28 first-choice wings in the French T14, just eight were French. It is becoming difficult.”
© Sportsbeat 2012