The XV of France faces Namibia for its third World Cup match on Thursday evening.
Time to get back in the saddle. The Blues continue their World Cup and play their third group match against Namibia, Thursday September 21, at the Vélodrome stadium in Marseille (to be followed on France 2 and france.tv). A week after the difficult victory against Uruguay, Fabien Galthié’s men are expected to turn the corner and must erase certain faults seen against the Teros.
>>> Also read: Baille, Danty, Jelonch… A timely return of the captains for the French XV
A festival and the offensive bonus
It’s a small additional point that has eluded the Blues since the start of the tournament. Winners of New Zealand and Uruguay having scored 27 points each time, and two and three tries respectively, the players of the French XV have not yet managed to win an offensive bonus point (four tries scored or more in the World Rugby regulations). Their two highest ranked opponents in the group, New Zealand and Italy, have already won a bonus point, precisely against Namibia.
However, the Blues do not want to think only about the bonus and make it a disproportionate objective. “Above all, we want to give a successful performance, come out with satisfaction and pleasure. If the bonus comes, it will go from there”, quietly assured Thibaud Flament. In the French ranks, it is above all the prospect of finding pleasure again, and therefore offensive drive on the field, which occupies minds. “We want to score points, tries but all that will come from respecting our game, respecting what we say to each other […] We also want to progress on our offensive system”summarized Thomas Ramos.
Find discipline and serenity
The big black spot. Against Uruguay, the Blues were guilty of chronic indiscipline for 80 minutes (15 penalties, one yellow card). Statistics never seen for the French for seven months and an already sluggish and already criticized success against Italy at the opening of the Six Nations Tournament. And qualified as“inadmissible” by second row Cameron Woki at the end of the match.
Against Namibia, the players absolutely want to erase this nervousness, justified by a lack of aggressiveness and serenity on the Lille pitch. “There was frustration. We debriefed the match well, we talked about it. We had to move on quickly to something else. I am convinced that things will go well on Thursday.”recognized Anthony Jelonch, captain last week. “We have all digested it and we are all keen to put in a good performance on Thursday. We did a very good training session which gave us some confidence back”added Thibaud Flament.
A conquering melee again
This is the other sector which suffered against Uruguay. The French pack, made up largely of finishers, was dominated by the Teros forwards in scrum, pushed to make mistakes, and too often penalized. LThis sector in fact represents four of the 15 penalties whistled against the Blues. “The scrum was sometimes a source of reward, but also a source of punishment and sanctions”recognized Fabien Galthié in the aisles of the Pierre-Mauroy stadium. “We’re going to go back to the basics and see areas for improvement with William [Servat, l’entraîneur des avants].”
With the return of several potential starters who started against New Zealand up front, reinforced by the first start of Cyril Baille, who is returning from injury, the French scrum should find a little stability against Namibia. Even without Grégory Alldritt, left to rest, and replaced in his third wing center position by Anthony Jelonch.