By beating South Africa 30-26 on 12 November 2022 in Marseille, the French rugby team increased their winning streak to 12, a record never seen in the history of the French 15th (AFP / Sylvain THOMAS)
The hunting table is complete: with the South African world champions (30-26), defeated by pain on Saturday night in Marseille despite a breakup and a red card for Antoine Dupont, Fabien Galthié’s France has now beaten all the main nations of rugby.
Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, England, Argentina: no one can resist these character-soaked Blues, who have fallen from the other nine members of the World Top 10 within a single year.
It is not enough (yet) to unseat the Irish from the top spot in the world rankings, but their record streak of twelve consecutive victories, which began in November 2021, unquestionably makes them one of the big favorites of the World Cup. year at home (September 8-October 28).
Acquired after a tough fight thanks to a new goal in the final, from the reserve pillar Sipili Falatea, their prestigious success, in a sold-out Vélodrome stadium, is a substantial sign in their progress towards this supreme deadline.
How could it have been the founding victory against England (24-17) for the first match of the Galthié era in February 2020 or the one against the All Blacks (40-25) a year ago, at the end of a particularly offensive performance successful.
– Extortion –
After stammering rugby during his first autumn test last week against Australia which he ended up beating on the wire (30-29) thanks to a personal exploit by Damian Penaud, the 15th of France was eager to see where he was. against a global benchmark. He saw.
The Springboks, however, had let him down lately. It was even necessary to go back to 2009 to find the trace of the last Blues victory.
It was in Toulouse, where Dupont, then 12, had gone with his club to the neighboring Hautes-Pyrénées. The scrum-half had kept the memory of that day of “impacts” and a “physical effort” that still today invariably characterizes the South African game.
Sometimes too much, and the French have had the bitter experience of this, with three players forced into a permanent substitution in the first half hour.
Pillar Cyril Baille scored the first try of France’s 15th victory against South Africa (30-26) on 12 November 2022 in Marseille (AFP / Sylvain THOMAS)
Starting with Jonathan Danty. Having become a father in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday, arriving in Marseille only on the eve of the match after having witnessed the birth of his partner in La Rochelle, the crazy week of the central trocar ended after less than 12 minutes of play.
While scratching a ball, he sustained a fracture of the orbital floor on a header from the third line Pieter-Steph du Toit, logically excluded.
– Mental resources –
In numerical superiority, the XV of France seemed to have the match in hand after the test in force of the left pillar Cyril Baille at the end of a long sequence (13-0, 21st).
But he lost three other players in quick succession: two by concussion, right prop Uini Atonio – finally returned after successfully passing the protocol – and second row Thibaud Flament, and one by injury, Baille, visibly a relapse of the left adductor operated during the summer.
Antoine Dupont (# 9) overturned South African winger Cheslin Kolbe (# 14) without contesting the ball: the captain and scrum-half of the XV of France was sent off on 12 November 2022 in Marseille (AFP / Sylvain THOMAS)
The Blues lose the thread of the match and bring back the Springboks, first on a goal by their captain Siya Kolisi, who came out well from a maul, then in turn reduced to fourteen. Because for having pushed his former Toulouse team-mate Cheslin Kolbe into the air, Dupont received the first red of his career and the world champions were able to take advantage of it.
Beaten in Ireland (19-16) last week, they scored a second try, from winger Kurt-Lee Arendse, and turned all their attempts on foot despite three different scorers.
But once again France, without necessarily shining in the game, found the mental resources to refuse defeat and win thanks to a strong try from Falatea in the 74th minute.
She can finish the year undefeated if she wins against Japan next week in Toulouse. Without local icon Antoine Dupont.