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Saint-Andre congratulates BOD

Philippe Saint-Andre hopes Brian O'Driscoll's retirement will sway the "god of rugby" back onto France's side next season.

Head coach Saint-Andre branded France's 22-20 Ireland defeat "very cruel", lamenting a try chalked-off for Damien Chouly and Jean-Marc Doussin's penalty miss.

Ireland swept to their first RBS 6 Nations title since the 2009 Grand Slam thanks to two tries for Johnny Sexton and a further score for wing Andrew Trimble.

Brice Dulin and Dimitri Szarzewski claimed tries for France, with Maxime Machenaud returning a flawless 10-point haul with the boot.

O'Driscoll's capped his 141st and final international appearance with Ireland's first win in France since his superlative 2000 hat-trick.

Sexton missed five points off the tee and was concussed trying to tackle Mathieu Bastareaud, but somehow Ireland clung on, leaving Saint-Andre to bemoan the hand of fate.

"High-level rugby is very cruel," said Saint-Andre.

"No one can say anymore that we don't have an enormous ambition to play the ball.

"In the end it's O'Driscoll that decides the tournament and leaves his last match with the trophy.

"Ireland have improved a lot, because they won the tournament, they play a quick tempo game.

"They've shown a lot of spirit and character throughout the Six Nations.

"Today they won a very, very tight game.

"I'm looking forward to playing Ireland next year in the Six Nations.

"Congratulations to Ireland and Brian O'Driscoll.

"Next year Brian O'Driscoll will not be here, so maybe the god of rugby will be on our side."

Saint-Andre took another chance to bat aside recent criticism of his stewardship, claiming France have taken great strides forward since last season's last-place Six Nations finish.

Admitting frustration at France finishing fourth in the standings, he said: "But that's why I was saying it was cruel, because we could easily have finished second.

"Yes absolutely we have improved, it's a young group, we know there's still room for improvement on small details, and we're really working on it.

"We are a bit frustrated, we would rather have won but we can build on this and look towards to our summer tour to Australia."