The statistics confirm the concerns felt during Les Bleus' four warm-up matches this summer. Eleven tries conceded, nearly three per game. That's a lot for a title contender. And it is on the line of a year 2003 less waterproof than the previous one.
In 2022, the year that the French XV finished undefeated (10 victories, and a Grand Slam to boot), the men of Fabien Galthié and Shaun Edwards, his deputy in charge of defense, had conceded 1.7 tries in average per game.
Since January 2023, the Blues have played nine matches, for seven wins and two defeats, conceding 2.9 tries on average per match. An increase of 70% compared to the previous year. In comparison, the other two big favorites have tightened up, South Africa taking 10% less and Ireland almost 18% less.