L’ancien troisième ligne montpelliérain, 82 sélections avec l’équipe de France et trois Coupes du monde au compteur, revient sur la performance des Bleus contre les All Blacks (27-13).
What made the difference?
The game started off poorly with a lackluster first half, many missed tackles. It’s quite unusual. Nevertheless, you manage to be at 9-8 at halftime without fully adhering to the game plan.
However, in the second half, everything fell into place. The guys started winning the kicking game duel. Once the momentum was gained, the match turned around. They never panicked, just like this team has been showing for a while now. Through perseverance, they eventually crushed the New Zealanders. In the end, it resulted in a beautiful victory with positive outcomes. And the Blacks leave with no points.
Do we get the feeling that France exudes unwavering confidence?
Absolutely. It is a team confident in its abilities, in its foundations. After the attempts at the beginning of the match or in the second period, I never felt any panic. They remained composed, calm.
The guys will continue to gradually increase their physical fitness to reach their peak during the final stages.
Comment l’expliquez-vous ?
The staff and players work on these kinds of scenarios. How to react if we concede a try at the beginning? If we receive a yellow card? Fabien Galthié enjoys preparing for this. The more you anticipate things, the less room you leave for stress. It worked perfectly yesterday. Especially in an opening match with all the accompanying pressure.
Which sector of the game was decisive?
The kicking game. These are the two teams that kick the most in the world. Against Australia, we struggled with high balls. This time, we were very good. The Blacks never really managed to maintain this pressure. And as soon as the French got their game going, won the duels and were strong on defense…
What is the potential for improvement of this team?
Many indicators are positive after this match. But the guys will continue to improve gradually to reach their peak physical condition in the playoffs. The same goes for the game. They will have time to fine-tune in the upcoming matches, give some players a break. I’m not sure if this performance will be enough in the quarterfinals against Ireland or South Africa. It allows the team to stay focused, not get carried away. Their calmness and controlled euphoria at the final whistle symbolize their desire to stay in the competition.
Pouvez-vous identifier un domaine spécifique où des améliorations pourraient être apportées ?
The defensive system is their strong point. However, it was disrupted by the New Zealanders who were able to adapt three times to the very fast defensive advances of the French wingers. The Blacks have read this tactic of the Blues well. It may be necessary to be vigilant in the future. But this first match allows us to see the future with even more serenity.