And twelve! But god it was arduous, stressful … Seven days later, one might be tempted to paraphrase the first French victory against Australia by 30 to 29 in the three autumn test matches, collected by grief, at the Stade de France on Saturday. last. However, a week later, the physiognomy of the meeting will have been quite different, despite a rather comparable dramaturgical emphasis.
In a long-sold-out Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, the Blues have once again won a very intense match that, four or five years ago, would surely have gotten out of hand. Except, with the trust capital they continue to hold on the successes achieved under the Galthié era – which took control of the selection at the end of 2019 – the word “defeat” simply seems to have disappeared from the lexicon. .
That, in the face of South Africa, the reigning world champion, landed on the European continent with its senior officers (the backbone being composed mainly of players who had raised the trophy in 2019), makes absolutely sense. At 30-26, TTC, here is the last big caliber of the oval that was missing from the recent record of the Blues (also remained on seven defeats against these proverbially crude scarecrows), which have become practically the best team on the planet for about a year now.
Something to mark the spirits and finish installing the young band of Antoine Dupont (unfortunate captain of the evening who, a week after a lackluster performance, was sent off in the 48th minute) in the role of favorites for the next World Cup – who will take place in September 2023 in France, although the daggers will strive to deny the obvious.
To follow, coldly, we cannot help but underline that this prestigious victory in Marseille, if at least it owes so much to the courage and self-denial of a group that has been able to remember how solidarity remains a cardinal virtue in rugby, that at talent of a few individuals, is no stranger to risks. Like the one that will have allowed the Blues to play more than half of the game in numerical superiority … and a little upside down. Or again, that decision of the English referee, Wayne Barnes, to award a trial for the victory, to say the least controversial, seems thanks to (or for) a technical problem that has not left the video the possibility of overturning a verdict that must having made more than one hop on the Cape Town or Durban side.
The moral of this story appears no less implacable: it has long been accustomed to reaping these defeats that by dint of swallowing snakes, has often tried to judge encouraging, France today accumulates victories leaving the moods to opponents reduced to saying that the nature of a stroke of fate is due to bad luck that one day or another always ends up capsizing.
“We are on the path, on the right path”
But that shouldn’t matter when it comes to receiving Japan, this time in Toulouse, for the last international match of the autumn. A much weaker opponent on paper (as evidenced by the 52-13 defeat to England on Saturday night) that no one would understand would make the Blues falter in the fiercely acquired belief that they are safe from a Trafalgar shot for quite a while.
“We are on the way, on the right way”, comments Fabien Galthié soberly on the microphone of France 2. Immediately after the Toulonnais, Charles Ollivon, who returned captain for one evening after Dupont’s red card, considered it useful to recall the need for “keep your feet on the ground, because we know what everyone’s goal is”. Alluding not so much to the prospect of lining up, in a week, a thirteenth consecutive victory (and to sign, with the same spirit of conquest, a clear group for 2022), as to the shining hope of wielding in a little less one year of a 38 cm high object in gilded silver.