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Rugby World Cup: the French XV (is) very scared against Uruguay

Special envoy to Villeneuve d’Ascq.

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Rugby World Cup: the French XV (is) very scared against Uruguay

Special envoy to Villeneuve d’Ascq

So this is “the best team in France at the moment”, says Fabien Galthié before what should have been a trial run against the 17th nation in the world? We knew that the coach was using wooden language when pronouncing this sentence. We unfortunately now know that there are not two French XVs, but a premium team and understudies far from being at the level, incapable of taking the offensive bonus against the modest Uruguay team (27-12) this Thursday, in Villeneuve d'Ascq, during the second day of the group stage of the Rugby World Cup. A second victory in two matches after the inaugural success against the New Zealand All Blacks for the French who now have an appointment with Namibia next Thursday at the Marseille Vélodrome.

Respect your opponent. The promise was not kept by the Blues. Dominant in front from the start, Jelonch and his partners believed too quickly, and wrongly, that the match was over before it even started. However, they received a serious call to order in the 6th minute. A kick over the top from the Teros opener, Felipe Etcheverry, Melvyn Jaminet too short in height, Gabin Villière late to tackle, and Nicolas Freitas, the former RC Vannes winger, flattens in the corner! Stupor. And annoyance. Touched in their pride, the Blues rush to attack the Teros in-goal. Obtain a penalty at the foot of the posts. Captain Jelonch calls for the melee. The South American forwards are put to torture, Lucu starts, serves Hastoy who flattens (almost) as if on parade.

10-5 in the 12th minute, everything is back to normal, we think. It was without taking into account the pride of the Uruguayans, who held on in defense. A resistance facilitated, it is true, by these very presumptuous French people. Four times in a row, Jelonch will refuse the penalty to request a throw-in or a scrum. William Servat may run up, tee in hand, to try to dissuade him, but his understudies persist. And get tangled. A maul blocked, two scrums lost, nothing is going well. A foul rugby mush, which gradually extinguishes a stadium which had shown its desire to burst into flames.

But there, it's difficult to get excited about the rough passes, the poorly adjusted kicks (like that of Hastoy towards Villière, isolated on his wing, who falls into a dead ball just before half-time), the lost balls , the excess numbers forgotten... Result, at the break, the Blues only lead 13 to 5, have not scored a single point since the 15th minute! They even came close to being penalized twice during this first act. First in the 24th minute. Sekou Macalou has already tackled Santiago Arata when Romain Taofifenua throws himself in turn. His shoulder against the head of the Castres scrum half. Yellow card. Confirmed by the bunker (independent video refereeing). For a huge sigh of relief because the red would not have been scandalous. Then in the 34th minute when Etcheverry scored a try that we thought was splendid. But, on video, Inciarte committed a big obstruction on Hastoy. Test logically refused but the shame did not go far…

Upon returning from the locker room, the reaction is hoped for, expected. Instead, the mess continues. Jaminet is whistled by the public for, this time, attempting a penalty of more than 50 meters. Failed. The whistles will soon be louder. On a first-hand action, fullback Baltazar Almaya puts Arthur Vincent in the wind then Melvyn Jaminet to score his team's second try (13-12, 54th). Stupor. And tremors this time. But you have to believe that a lucky star is watching over these very pale Blues. On the start, Etcheverry saw his kick blocked by the back... of a teammate and the ball bounced into the hands of Peato Mauvaka, who had recently joined. Test between the poles and 20-12 (56th) for a French team still unconvincing.

Fortunately, the Teros are contaminated by French pretension and also stubbornly refuse to attempt the numerous penalties which could have allowed them to very, very frighten this pitiful French team. They will be punished. In a confusing action, each team losing then regaining the ball in turn, the XV of France ended up inheriting a scrum in the opposing camp. The forwards do the job, gain meter by meter, Vincent finds Hastoy behind him who serves Louis Bielle-BIarrey. And the kid goes to score the try of the deliverance in the 73rd minute (27-12). It was time ! The ace ! There was not enough left to flatten a fourth time and glean the offensive bonus which flowed naturally before kick-off.

XV De France
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