what you need to know about the penultimate match of Les Bleues in the Six Nations Tournament
We remember the anger of the captain of the Blue, Gaëlle Hermet, after victory against Scotland. Despite a new offensive bonus won, the French invited the group to question themselves and seriously raise their level of play for the rest of the Six Nations Tournament. Facing Wales, vFriday April 22, surprise of this 2022 edition, the XV of France aspires to more than a simple victory (live at 9 p.m. on France 3 and france.tv). Annick Hayraud’s players are looking for a reference match before facing the XV de la Rose, the first nation in the world, at the end of the Six Nations.
One last chance to shine before the English clash
Staff and players have been hammering it since the start of the Tournament: thinking too soon about England, potential final opponent for the coronation and the Grand Slam in Bayonne next weekend, would be a mistake. If the Blues have made a little more than halfway by dominating in turn the Italians, the Irish and the Scots and are only one success away from offering themselves the dream final, they have only fulfilled part of the objectives set at the start of the Tournament.
« In Scotland, we win 28-8, with the bonus, but… And it was the same against Ireland and Italy. We win but we know that everything has not been successful and that we are very far from the game set up on the autumn tour »notably regretted the rear moved to the opening, Jessy Trémoulière in an interview with AFP before the meeting.
This new trip should allow us to continue to develop our mastery of the game and our ability to perform for 80 minutes.Thomas Darracq, sports manager of the XV of France
in the pre-match press release
Because, these Bleues have swung into a new dimension. This ambitious group focuses as much on accounting results as on content. « They have to find consistency throughout a game, that’s what they’ve been missing so far »highlighted Marie Sempéré, former international and consultant for France Télévisions.
After having succeeded in erasing the festival of forwards and blunders – which had weighed down the tricolor conquest against Italy – against Ireland, the Blues were only able to flirt with the level of play to which they aspire only during only one half in Scotland. Above all, they did not score a single point in the second period. « It’s a team that can do better and knows it.she supports. Against the Italians, getting the ric rac bonus on the last action thanks to a personal exploit by Boulard, it was probably not the planned scenario. And this is one example among many. »
Wales in spoilsport
Behind the two English and French behemoths (15 points each), it was the Welsh (10 pts, 3rd) who came out on top. « A suprise » for Marie Sempere. Slapped (57-5) against XV de la Rose in the last match, they nevertheless overthrew Scotland (24-19) after being led for almost the entire meeting, before re-offending against Ireland (27- 19) thanks to three tries scored in the last quarter of an hour. This start of the Tournament is already a big revenge for those who finished last in the 2021 edition.
Before the match against England, the Welsh said ‘before we had a complex, but we have progressed and we know that we can get them in such and such sectors of the game’. It’s a new approach that shows that they have reached a real milestone.Marie Sempéré, former international at XV and at 7, consultant for France Télévisions
at franceinfo: sport
A change which can be explained both by the arrival of a new coach in November and by the federal and semi-pro contracts distributed in January. « They have clearly progressed physically, technically, in the reading of situations. Their mental resources jumped out at me. They held their victory against Scotland thanks to a big defensive sequence. And even if they lose against the England, they no longer present themselves as a small team struggling. »
The last confrontations
Les Bleues nevertheless advance as favorites and « have ample means to win », relativizes Marie Sempéré. It must be said that France has won its last five games against Wales with a gap of at least 20 points. In the last four meetings, the Welsh have scored just six points in total (53-0, April 2021, 50-0 in February 2020, 52-3 in February 2019 and 38-3 in March 2018).
But between a Leek XV in full revival and therefore relieved of a certain pressure and the Blues summoned to use this duel as « last big rehearsal before the clash against England », in the words of Marie Sempéré, the XV of France should not be overwhelmed by the challenge. In order to afford, as he hopes, the opportunity to show that he too is capable of winning titles.