Six Nations 2014: France have learnt from past failures, insists Pascal Pape

Six Nations 2014: France captain Pascal Pape believes les Bleus have learnt from their past failures after a 26-24 victory over England

Pascal Pape believes learning from past failures was a major factor in Saturday’s dramatic 26-24 win over England on the opening day of the 2014 Six Nations.

Les Bleus have won the championship in the Six Nations era every year following a British and Irish Lions tour, but this year they will have to produce the ultimate turnaround after a poor tournament last year saw them finish bottom with their only points coming from a 13-13 draw with Ireland and a 23-16 win over Scotland in the final match; the first time they had finished bottom since the last iteration of the Five Nations in 1999.

I think we learned a few lessons. We showed amazing spirit, we showed some guts

Pascal Pape

Despite the welcome result against joint-favourites England, with Yohann Huget and Gaël Fickou impressing, the Stade Français lock refused to get carried away after the match and expects more to come at home to Italy at the Stade de France next week before tough away tests in weeks three and four against Wales and Scotland.

“I wouldn’t say this is the birth of a team,” Pape said. “We went through rough times in 2013 and got a lot from it, this is also important in the creation of a group and I think we learned a few lessons. We showed amazing spirit, we showed some guts.

“It had been a while since I had seen smiling faces among the boys, and that’s what matters. Obviously, there are things to improve, we are well aware of it, we were on the pitch. We know where we want to go.”

Pape inherited the captain’s armband after Thierry Dusautoir was ruled out of the tournament with a bicep injury picked up in Toulouse’s Heineken Cup win over Zebre last month.

He added: “My first thoughts go to Thierry Dusautoir. Obviously, if I can captain this team and produce a memorable performance in this competition, I will.

“Everyone is highly motivated, there a good energy in the group, we’ve learned from our past. Even when it got tough, we kept at it, we communicated, encouraged each other. What matters is that we can finally smile for a while.”

In the video below, Matt Dawson returns to join Will Carling & Scott Quinnell as they catch-up on the nail-biting final rounds of the Heineken Cup, catch up with another one of Matt’s Celebrity Friends and answer your Twitter questions.

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