offensive festival, dominant scrum, indiscipline to be corrected… What we liked and disliked about the French victory in Wales

The Blues achieved a great success on the lawn of Arms Park (40-0) on Sunday afternoon.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial


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Tricolor winger Joanna Grisez with ball in hand against the Welsh, in the Six Nations Tournament, in Cardiff, April 21, 2024. (GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)

The Blues are off to a good start. With its improved victory in Wales (40-0), Sunday April 21, the French team continued its flawless performance in the Tournament. Carried by a remodeled three-quarter line but with legs, and a dominant scrum, the French signed a fourth victory in a row, before meeting the English for the “final” of the competition. Here’s what we liked and didn’t like about Les Bleues’ performance in Cardiff.

We liked

A new offensive festival

The long sequences at the start of the Tournament without succeeding in finding the fault are forgotten. As against Italy a week ago, the Blues were offensive to achieve a big victory. The players of Gaëlle Mignot and David Ortiz delighted with six tries and 40 points scored, and until the last minute or almost, with the final achievement of Joanna Grisez just before the siren.

A performance all the more interesting as the Blues did not necessarily hold possession (62% for the Welsh). “DAs soon as we got the ball back, we managed to create things, that’s what struck me the most.” savored captain Manae Feleu after the meeting. “Our game plan has changed, we had to adapt, here we are really showing great things”supported Pauline Bourdon. It has been a year since the Blues, who confirm their status as the second best attack, had not played in two matches scoring at least six tries (Scotland and Wales in the 2023 Tournament).

The contribution of the septists

This was the great novelty of the composition: the tenure on the back lines of the three septists, Anne-Cécile Ciofani and Joanna Grisez on the wings, and Chloé Jacquet in the center. The three players, who were strong and played the 80 minutes, performed well on the Arms Park pitch. “They played a complete match, they showed what they could bring in changes of pace, speed, taking initiatives and defense”greeted co-head coach David Ortiz after the match.

“Those are high-level players, who have the rage to winadded co-selector Gaëlle Mignot. OWe want to have a big French group, where everyone contributes to the building.” Among the septists, Joanna Grisez particularly attracted attention, with her double on two interceptions and a good statistics sheet (141 meters covered, 3 defenders beaten).

A melee at the top

The conquest sector is the one that gave the most satisfaction. Against the Welsh, the Blues were able to count on a conquering and irresistible scrum (nine scrums won, none lost). It was also from a perfectly negotiated scrum that the third French try started, scored by third row Romane Ménager (31st). “It gave us confidence, This is something we worked on a lot this week. We were keen to show for next week that in the scrum, we were there”assured Manae Feleu.

The Blues recover the ball from a Welsh scrum and immediately go on a counter-attack under the leadership of Teani Feleu who escapes on the short side, escapes a tackle and serves Romane Ménager superbly for the Blues' third try.  The transformation is missed by Lina Queyroi.

Day 4: Romane Ménager scores the third French try
The Blues recover the ball from a Welsh scrum and immediately go on a counter-attack under the leadership of Teani Feleu who escapes on the short side, escapes a tackle and superbly serves Romane Ménager for the Blues’ third try. The transformation is missed by Lina Queyroi.

“We have a good pack, they work hard, Gaëlle (Mignot) is tough on her and it shows on the pitch. We’ll have to save that for next week”, for her part explained Pauline Bourdon, who introduces the blue scrums when she is on the field. A very good omen before returning to the English, also dominant in the exercise.

We liked it less

The French touch in difficulty

If the scrum worked well, the Blues were not dominant on the touchline. Jostled by the Welsh, they lost four, half as many as the number of touches won. “Today we didn’t know how to get into that match, we faced a Welsh team who knew how to defend, who read us and put us in difficulty there. This is a factual observation that we will work on.”David Ortiz soberly commented.

The tricolor collective has identified the key as a sector “priority” to work on before the clash next weekend, against the English specialists in carried balls. “There are lots of things to blame, sometimes the pitcher, sometimes the announcement, but you also have to know when the team is defending well, and there they defended very well, and we took a while to get there. ‘adapt”regretted for her part the hooker Agathe Sochat.

Three cards and too much indiscipline

This is the other dark spot of the meeting. While they had not yet conceded any cards, three players from the France team were sanctioned on Sunday afternoon on the pitch. The first card fell in the first minutes of play, for a high tackle by Anne-Cécile Ciofani, while Chloé Jacquet, author of a voluntary forward, had to leave her partners after the siren (80th). Between the two, Assia Khalfaoui was also sanctioned for a head-to-head tackle (63rd).

“On that of Anne-Cécile and that of Assia it’s envy, on that of Assia and Chloé, we have to be vigilant at the end of the match, these are small mistakes which can hurt at the end of the match with a close score, analyzed Manae Feleu. Experiencing these mistakes now is perhaps also very good, we can pay attention to this for next week.” Because faced with the English strike force, the Blues will not be able to afford to lose players.

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