France, best attack of the Tournament, a permanent offensive threat
Against the Welsh side, the Blues seemed capable of accelerating and putting themselves in a position to score at any moment. An excellent point to preserve in the perspective of the World for Fabien Galthié’s troop.
The faces flushed with fatigue, hands on hips and mouths agape of players seeking a fear of the air, have long been inseparable images of the clashes between France and Wales. This Saturday March 18 is no exception. After their top defensive finish last season (9-13), the Blues emerged victorious this time (41-28) from a fast-paced match during which nine tries were scored. In both cases the final Italian success was accompanied by a certain fatality. The impression of an almost insurmountable defensive wall in 2022. And the ability to accelerate at will to score in 2023.
Between the historic victory at Twickenham and this Saturday, the XV of France scored 94 points! “We must be able to be proud of ourselves. We give 40 points to Wales which, despite a complicated tournament, remains one of the strongest nations in the world”tricolor captain Antoine Dupont confirmed after the meeting.
A capacity to react to be preserved
“The Welsh have been buried a bit quickly in this tournamentcompleted his opener and man of the match Romain Ntamack. With their experience and the players who make up this squad, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match. We saw it in the first 20 minutes where they put a lot of pace. They took a while to our game and we had some trouble reacting.” However, they did. Quite quickly and efficiently. It is also the turn of the lead, two minutes after the opening of the score by Nord (try converted in the 8th), which allowed the Blues to respond with a realization by Damian Penaud (10th, 7-7).
While they have sometimes been unsuccessful in the last few meters against the Welsh, this ability to react has been one of their greatest strengths this tournament. At Twickenham the two tries in quick succession from the blue third line (Flament 57th, Ollivon 60th) 10 minutes after that of Steward (48th, 10-27) had suffocated the renewed hopes of XV de la Rose. In Rome, at the first Italian points (two penalties 14th, 22nd) the Azzurri were opposed by two tries by Ramos (19th) then by Dumortier (26th). And they left the Transalpins leading for just five short minutes, before Matthieu Jalibert cleared the Blues to an improved success. Against Scotland, they repeated their performance right at the end of the game.
Better management of weak times to be found in view of the World Cup
Because this XV of France is as eager for victories as for titles. Furthermore, he is not fully satisfied with this copy made against Wales, less successful than in England. “We feel we have strong attacking potential, growing, but we play to win titles and if we don’t win tonight there will be disappointment. We will always have so many regrets about the Ireland game”relativized the heat Antoine Dupont, before his fears were transformed by the Irish victory against England.
“There are always things to sort out, in defense we still take 28 points, we could have taken a lot less”argued Romain Ntamack emphasizing the complicated beginning and “the ten-minute hole in the second period”. “We have experienced all the emotions, it shows that this team still has a lot to learn from this tournament, certainly more than from last year, given what awaits us in September.” “The ambition is not finished, the great competition is ahead”continued his coach Fabien Galthié.
At the beginning of the school year, the Blues will aim for the top of the world. And whether it’s lapses in concentration, a less physical jab sometimes coupled with overwhelming indiscipline (like early in the tournament), they’ll need to limit the points taken in their weak moments. Avoiding the yo-yo effect, which dangerously sucks the energy out of those chasing scores or struggling to kill matches, should be one of the keys to achieving their blue dream.