l’essentielThe French team exited the World Cup in France during the quarter-finals, losing to South Africa on Sunday, October 15th at the Stade de France (29-28).
« I returned to Perpignan on Monday around 3:30 pm and I was still in a state of total shock. I still can’t believe that we lost. It’s a very strange feeling. » These words are signed by Shaun Edwards, one of the coaches of the French national rugby team. The Englishman, in charge of the French defense, shares them with the British newspaper Daily Mail. Since the beginning of the Rugby World Cup in France, he has been writing a weekly column there.
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These statements leave little doubt about the trauma caused by the elimination of the French national rugby team, in the quarter-finals against South Africa (29-28), on Sunday, October 15th at the Stade de France. « I went for a walk on the beach upon my return to reflect on all of this, » Shaun Edwards confides. « And I just had this feeling of emptiness inside me. We worked so hard on this World Cup campaign and suddenly, it’s over. »
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« It’s going to sting. It’s going to sting a lot. »
He continues: « I woke up Monday morning after only two hours of sleep and thought to myself, ‘Was all of this just a nightmare?’ I got up at 6 am and went to the gym to do my rehabilitation exercises. It’s strange. We spent four months together preparing for the biggest challenge of our lives: living together as a family. And in 14 hours, you’re alone at home. […] But I didn’t even get to see all the players before leaving because there was only one available flight. »
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Shaun Edwards décrit ensuite une scène qui l’a marqué : « Les joueurs n’ont pas dit grand-chose. Thomas Ramos est venu vers moi et s’est excusé mais je ne sais pas pourquoi. Je lui ai dit qu’il avait été fantastique et qu’il n’avait pas à s’excuser. »
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At no point does Shaun Edwards mention the refereeing, but he praises the South Africans’ skill in high balls and scrums. He ends, however, on a slightly optimistic note: « The only thing about our team is the average age. Many of them will still be here in 2027, which, however, is a small comfort. I hope to be able to continue working with Fabien and honor my contract, to be there with them in four years. Having another chance to participate in the World Cup could help alleviate the long-term pain for some, but nothing beats a home tournament. »
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« I will wait a few days before watching the match again, maybe even about a week, » he concluded. « Of course, I have to watch it again and again, but it’s going to sting. It’s going to sting a lot. »