France have just embarked on a revised six-game end-of-year schedule that has sparked such a fierce row between the federation (FFR) and the clubs (LNR) that a compromise was agreed that no player could play more than three of them. matches. But that has only crystallized the way Fabien Galthié and Les Bleus prioritize next Saturday’s game against Ireland above all others combined.
That says a lot about the importance Galthié attaches to the Six Nations final as he used one of those “three” caps at full power for last Saturday’s friendly 38-21 victory over Wales in Stade de France as a preparatory dry race – at the same time. , same place – for the game against Ireland.
If full-back Anthony Bouthier is ruled out due to the blow to the head which forced his withdrawal halfway to last Saturday’s victory, his half-time replacement, Thomos Ramos of Toulouse, will wear the “15” .
If the Bernard Le Roux lock is suspended for his foul play on Alun Wyn Jones, then Killian Géraci, the uncapped Lyon lock and another of the recent back-to-back Under-20 World Cup winners, or Romain Taofifenua, will enter in the second row.
Otherwise, that will remain unchanged, after Galthié and his assistants return to the same side that beat England in the first round last Saturday. Perhaps unfortunately for Ireland, it means the team’s heartbeat, exceptional scrum half Antoine Dupont, as well as half Romain Ntamack, tighthead Mohamed Haouas and left winger Vincent Rattez are back. in the hot seat.
Dupont, Ntamack and Rattez were all reportedly injured for the final scheduled for last March in Paris, while Haouas was reportedly suspended. With Wales also fielding a solid and experienced squad, close to the squad that helped France to a thrilling 27-23 victory last February in Cardiff, last Saturday’s performance underscored the progress of the France and seems perfectly prepared for next Saturday.
Individually, these players add to the collective threat France will pose to Ireland next Saturday in a city where Ireland have beaten France three times in their last 24 visits, dating back to 1972, and never have been there. scored four tries.
France lost 10-0 in seven minutes to Wales, but where in the past they could have collapsed like a sandcastle, under the captaincy of Charles Ollivon, they never seemed disturbed from a distance and stealthily took a 21-13 lead.
Dupont pulled the strings, while the riders overcame “9” or he bonded with Ntamack. He finished two good try-scoring shots with his hallmark in support trailers and almost scored a third with another, but it’s how he created their fourth of Olivon’s five tries that the summary.
When the ball fell to the ground, it was as if 29 players froze in black and white, while Dupont stayed in color and in motion. He has a strange talent for doing this. He did the same against England by dancing to the blind side of a loose roster and, once again, Olivon was on Dupont’s wavelength to provide the line of support for the tries.
It’s as if sometimes Dupont seems to think for a second or two before everyone else on the pitch. He also appears to be made of rubber, the way he bounces off opponents and the ground, and his footwork is outrageous.
Toulouse played with him both away and Ntamack at ’12’, while Galthié just plays them in their best positions. Ditto Gaël Fickou at ’12’. Wales used the same quick blitz-style defense Ireland used against Italy and on different occasions Ntamack and Fickou had the vision and the footwork to get back inside and bond with Dupont inside and Virimi Vakatawa outside.
Ireland will need to fill those inside holes and push hard in midfield. Even so, there’s Vakatawa’s ridiculous unload, witness the extravagant ball returned from the tackle to Teddy Thomas for Dupont’s first try, or Dupont’s ability to conjure up a try from scratch. Witness his blind chip and come together to seal victory.
Of course, Ireland will have been encouraged by France’s airborne fragility and a 16-4 penalty count largely based on the Welsh ability to challenge the blackout.
As for France’s defense, although it was opened beautifully by Justin Tipuric’s pass into space so Dan Biggar could put Leigh Halfpenny on top in the first minute, their line speed effectively nullified the Welsh attack. And Shaun Edwards, probably still pissed off by Warren Gatland preferring Andy Farrell to him as the defense coach during the last two Lions tours, often seems to have a blueprint for troubling Ireland.
Haouas, 26, of Algerian origin, comes from a difficult working class environment in Montpellier and has temperament problems, as evidenced by the punch on James Ritchie which earned him a three-week ban last February.
He is due to be questioned by a criminal court for armed robbery of a tobacconist next January which dates back to the age of 19 in 2014. But having only made his debut against England, Haouas transformed the fray French, which was a weakness in the World Cup last year.
This is how the core of the team Galthié wants to host the World Cup in 2023 is located. He explained that at the entrance to the Six Nations, their average age was 25 years with an average of 16 selections. per player. At the World Cup, those averages should be 28 and 40.
But in the short term, it’s no wonder the Six Nations have priority over the Fall Nations Cup for Galthié. France haven’t lifted the trophy since 2010, making it their most barren race since the 1920s, and in addition to the tradition and congratulations that come with the oldest international competition in the history of the sport, it there is also the wo nga.
The uncivilized kickoff of 9:05 p.m. local time arrives – even though Paris will be on curfew – it is likely that England will have put the title out of reach for France and Ireland, the Andy Farrell’s men getting an improbable bonus point victory for theirs.
The price difference between second and third place is around 1.1 million euros, or 3.85 million euros against 2.75 million euros, while it is at hand, winning the title would bring in 6.6 million euros.
Are not to sneeze.