It was almost written before the match: the logic is respected, and it is indeed the vice-champions of the English world, winners in the afternoon of very modest Italians (34-5), who win the Tournament of VI Nations 2020. On the evening of Saturday, October 31, the Blues did not achieve the improbable feat of defeating the Irish by 31 points to win the trophy. But they still beat the XV of Trèfle 35-27, with the offensive bonus (4 tries), thus finishing in second place, and this is already very good news for the tricolor oval.
The best result since 2011
Because it is necessary to measure the path accomplished by the XV of France, in a year spent from legion in perdition, after a very long wandering, to conquering light brigade, capable of achieving its best result in the competition since 2011. Yes, the XV of France can finally believe in its future, bet on a very talented generation which can still progress. In particular, it will be necessary to calm the too unbridled momentum of these young shoots committing too many mistakes to claim excellence: 14 against the Irish, 16 a week earlier against the Welsh in a friendly match, this is certainly not crippling since at each time the victory was at the end. But this is the main fault of this fiery youth, to erase to go higher.
→ PORTRAIT. Rugby, two “kids” on their way to Ireland
And these Blues can win the moon as they demonstrate beautiful typically French skills. These “kids” (25 years old and 16 selections on average) have rehabilitated the famous “French flair” that we believed to be permanently lost, taking advantage of a sudden inspiration from scrum half Antoine Dupont, here with a flick of the paw brilliant opener Romain Ntamack to turn the opponent around and fill the test case. The Blues therefore have the best attack in the Tournament with 17 tries in the bag (like the Irish) and the most points scored (138).
Before the match, coach Fabien Galthié underlined the ambition: “We were good against England, average against Italy, good in Wales and beaten in Scotland. After being good against the Welsh in a friendly match, this time we want continuity, consistency ”. This second convincing victory can only satisfy the playing master. And validate its formula.
The stability of the workforce
Because the return to the best level of the Blues (the victory against Ireland puts them in fourth place in the world) is obviously the work of the former international tricolor. He had made it possible to plug the gaps in assistant-savior of coach Jacques Brunel during the last World Cup, finally completed by a rather flattering quarter-final (loss of nothing against the Welsh, 19-20). He perfectly ensured the succession, with a project shared by the players and the clubs. Fabien Galthié thus quickly found his team, and the stability of his workforce – 12 players out of 15 lined up for six consecutive matches, a first since… 1995 – is undoubtedly not for nothing in the renewed performances.
A consistency that unfortunately will be undermined by the rest of the Blues program. After the next match against Fiji (November 15 in Vannes), and to honor the agreement between the French Federation and the National Rugby League on the provision of internationals (players can only line up three matches out of the six planned this fall), Fabien Galthié will have to find a whole new team. The opportunity to experiment, to perhaps discover new talents. Without pressure. He knows he’s already got something.