Noves sees progress from France

France boss Guy Novès felt his side were better off than their fifth-placed finish in the Six Nations suggested after his first tournament in charge.

France won their first two matches against Italy and Ireland at home before slumping to three straight defeats to Wales, Scotland and England.

Novès believes his squad have made real progress, even if there is plenty more to come, and despite being defeated "by a better team" at the Stade de France.

"I felt like we were very close to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but there was a gap with England. They are much more rigorous at the moment, with a better training. Especially in the second half," Novès told the Six Nations website.

"In the first half it was our mistakes but in the second half they dominated. We were beaten by a better team. We can be proud of our players but there is room for improvement.

"It's a new project and there's things to work on. Sometimes it's the scrum, sometimes it's the lineout, sometimes the kicking game.

"I'm disappointed, not because I expected to win the games, but I'm disappointed for the players. In terms of the desire and the game plan I felt there was progression.

"It might not have been visible but we think they are improving. We might not win straightaway but we'll be competitive.

"I can't say I'm happy we finished fifth but as a new coach I try to focus on the content of the games and if we can progress. I didn't expect to win the title but we always tried to win and we'll try to be lucid on what didn't work.

"We have to move forward and start from here."