weak time management, touch control, hostile environment… The keys to the match between Scotland and France

A French XV in full doubt travels to Scotland for the second day of the Six Nations Tournament, Saturday afternoon.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial



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A first trip to try to bounce back. The French XV travels to the pitch at Murrayfield, Saturday February 10 (3:15 p.m., live on France 2 and france.tv), for the second day of the Six Nations Tournament. Beaten when they entered the competition against Ireland, the Blues will try to raise their heads and finally launch their tournament. To do this, we will have to get the best of a Scotland team that is off to a good start after its inaugural victory in Wales.

Essential weak time management

On the pitch at Murrayfield, victory will perhaps go to the team which can best manage its weak moments. Dominated almost from start to finish in the opening match, the XV of France, overwhelmed, was unable to create many strong moments to counterbalance its many weak moments.

But the Blues will also have the opportunity to take advantage of their opponents’ weak times, who started their Tournament by blowing hot and cold against the Welsh. A high-flying first period was followed by a big gap after the break, for a final victory by just one point (27-26). “The victory is great, but the second half was really far from what we would have liked to do”had regretted the will-o’-the-wisp Finn Russell on the BBC microphone after the final whistle, also mentioning “a little complacency”. A complacency which almost proved fatal to them, and which perhaps gave the Blues a few keys.

Combat and discipline in the scrum and rucks

A large part of the fight will be played in the scrum and in the rucks. France will bring physicality, they will give everything in the scrums, the mauls”warned Scottish coach Gregor Townsend. These areas of play were the weak point for the Scots in their first match, even in their strongest moments. Very undisciplined, Finn Russell and his teammates were penalized with nine penalties in the scrum or in the rucks, out of 16 in total. An indiscipline used by Gregor Townsend to explain his team’s bad luck after half-time.

The French XV will for its part find a complete pack, after an hour numerically inferior against Ireland and forced adjustments on the pitch, with good and bad. In the ruck phase, we had a lot of lost balls. We performed well in the closed scrum, but we still suffered two carried balls, which is damaging.”analyzed François Cros in the mixed zone after the match against Ireland.

Have mastery on the touch

The sidelines area will also need to be monitored. With four touches lost (out of 18), the French alignment missed out against Ireland. “VSWhat we were sorely lacking was playing without number 5 for almost seventy minutes.recognized Fabien Galthié at a press conference. We can adapt, we did. But we lacked the weapons to harass, cause difficulty and defend this zone of conquest.”.

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Day 1: insatiable Irish with a 5th and final try for Kelleher

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To reverse the trend against Scotland, the Blues staff chose to line up Cameron Woki from the kick-off, who returns to his role as sideline captain, shared with Charles Ollivon. An exceptional jumper, the Racing player will come and heal a sector which has suffered and which should weigh on the match. Especially since on the side of the XV du Chardon, we will have to do without the giant Richie Gray (2.08 m), very valuable in the exercise, but injured in the biceps against the Welsh and who has withdrawn for the rest of the match. tournament.

Resisting the environment and the particular context

A trip to Scotland is always a special moment. In a legendary stadium of world rugby, the opponents of the XV du Chardon come to rub shoulders with the players, but also with a lively public. “Everyone says it’s great, the crowd is wild, they have their own culture”assured Paul Boudehent during the midweek press briefing, who played his first minutes in the blue jersey at Murrayfield, in August 2023. “It’s a very proud country and people, they are big warriors, they will do everything to hurt us tomorrow”added Grégory Alldritt in a pre-match press conference.

Facing Scotland, the French preparation for the 2023 World Cup). “We never had an easy match against Scotland”, recalled the captain of the Blues. In the event of a fourth defeat, synonymous with a series of three unprecedented losses with the current coach, the Blues would sink a little deeper into doubt.

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