Baitieri confident of improvement

PA Sport
Jason Baitieri knows France must improve when they face England next week
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Jason Baitieri knows France must improve when they face England next week

France will move camp from Hull to Manchester to lick the wounds from their 44-6 mauling by England and plot their revenge in next Sunday's final of the autumn international series.

The French, who qualified for the final at the City of Salford Stadium thanks to an opening 20-6 win over Wales, were beaten but unbowed by Saturday's eight-try loss, according to back-row forward Jason Baitieri.

"We need to improve a fair bit," said Baitieri, one of 13 Catalan Dragons players on duty at Craven Park. "I was really proud of the boys for the way we defended. England have got a very good side and a lot of spark in attack so we tried to concentrate on good defence and to try to build pressure with our attack."

He went on: "We'll do a bit more homework this week. International football is not like the Super League, they're one- off games and you need to perform for the 80 minutes.

"We've plenty of improvement that can be done. We'll come out next week again and try to cause an upset."

Already without experienced forwards Sebastien Raguin and Jamel Fakir, who can boast 56 caps between them, as well as the retired David Ferriol, France suffered a body blow with the loss of full-back Cyril Stacul with concussion just 14 minutes into the match.

That meant a re-shuffle, with Thomas Bosc switching from stand-off to full-back, and the visitors were dealt further blows in the second half when back-row forwards Gregory Mounis and Kevin Larroyer were forced out of the game with arm and leg injuries respectively.

"Cyril is a big part of the team and him going out early meant we had change our half-backs," Baitieri said. "We had a few other key positional players, including Greg Mounis, going down and it affected us a bit."

Coach Aurelien Cologni has brought a 20-man squad to England and has four other players on stand-by in France in Julian Bousquet, Teddy Sadaoui, Sebastien Planas and Antoni Maria, although the latter is unlikely to be available because of injury.

"We'll definitely get Jamel Fakir back and Sebastien Raguin is there as well," Baiteri added. "After the medicals, we'll see who's available and who's not and what players we need."

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