If Fabien Galthié found fault with the performance of his troops against Uruguay, the coach of the XV of France was nevertheless pleased after the meeting that no new injuries were added, Thursday September 14, to the incomplete score of the Blues (27-12). Because the blue infirmary, very full at the start of the World Cup, is gradually emptying. This is evidenced by the composition of the France team to face Namibia, Thursday September 21 (9 p.m.), in Marseille.
Absent since mid-August due to a right calf injury, left pillar Cyril Baille finds his place on the front line, like powerful center Jonathan Danty, injured in the thigh at the end of preparation. In a French XV approaching a typical team – and players who beat the All Blacks in the opening match -, only third row Gregory Alldritt is missing, spared following an alert (knee) during Monday’s practice.
“We hear a lot of debate about team compositions, but we compose our teams by the week”, insisted Fabien Galthié, Tuesday September 19, in Aix-en-Provence (Bouches-du-Rhone). After the success against the New Zealanders, “those who had played needed to recover”, explains the coach. Then a largely renewed team faced and painfully got the better of Uruguay, in Lille, six days later.
The second tenure of Louis Biele-Biarrey
“After the match in Lille, we had a seven-day week where we had the possibility of putting the All Blacks players back into a classic rotation”explains the French coach, who ensures that“there is no change of direction” despite the sluggish match – and the absence of an offensive bonus point (granted from four tries scored) – against the Teros. Same explanation for the second start in a row for young Louis Biele-Biarrey on the wing, to the detriment of Gabin Villière, who had played the entirety of the first two matches.
Two weeks after the opening match and before cutting so much time – due to the five-a-side groups, each team takes a weekend off – the Blues starters are eager to return to competition. “There is no need to spare, I am happy to be able to play, I need rhythm, to find reference points with the team”, said opener Matthieu Jalibert on Monday. Member of the starting XV since Romain Ntamack’s injury at the end of preparation, the Bordeaux flyhalf aspires to refine his hinge automatisms with Antoine Dupont.
“A lot of players were spared after the match against the All Blacks a fortnight ago and there are two weeks left before Italy and other upcoming events I hopeinsisted the French captain on Tuesday. We just put our best team in, as we often do depending on current fitness levels. We want to have the best possible match in terms of result and form. »
Facing 21e world nation, which has not won a single match during its six participations in the World Cup, the Blues are keen to forget their incomplete performance against Uruguay. “We don’t think about the bonus point, we just think about delivering a successful performance”, assures Toulouse second row Thibaud Flament. If the Namibians were severely beaten at the opening of the World Cup, against Italy (52-8) then New Zealand (71-3), the French say they want to respect their opponent. “We saw that they took a lot of points in the first two matches, so we also want to score points and tries, but that will require respecting our game”estimates fullback Thomas Ramos.
Thomas Ramos – Damian Penaud, Gaël Fickou, Jonathan Danty, Louis Bielle-Biarrey – (o) Matthieu Jalibert, (m) Antoine Dupont (cap.) – Charles Ollivon, Anthony Jelonch, François Cros – Thibaud Flament, Cameron Woki – Uini Atonio , Peato Mauvaka, Cyril Baille.
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