The Blues hit hard last Friday, launching “their” World Cup (September 8 to October 28) with a resounding victory over New Zealand (27-13) at the Stade de France. Their second opponent, Uruguay, is more modest since it is only 17th in the world rankings. A meeting which will take place at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille. The match can be followed on TF1 (kick-off 9 p.m.), commented by François Trillo and his consultant Benjamin Kayser, but also live on the Figaro website, where the dapper Thomas Larroquette will take you through the confrontation minute by minute.
The bosses left to rest. After the opening victory against New Zealand, Fabien decided to let a large part of his so-called “premium” team breathe (even if he no longer wants to use this term). In total, twelve changes in the starting XV: only Cameron Woki in the second row, Yoram Moefana in the center and Gabien Villière on a wing retain a starting place. Fabien Galthié returned to his choice to rotate his squad: “The challenge for us is to build the best team in France at the moment. This is the case, with this team which has brought freshness, which has had preparation, which has gone through different paths... but which, for four years, has lived together. This team constitutes the best team in France at the moment for this match.
This Thursday will be the first time that France and Uruguay face each other in an official match. The two teams played two unofficial matches in the early 1960s and 1980s. This is the fifth participation of the “Teros” (see below) in the World Cup after having played in those of 1999, 2003, 2015 and 2019. The South Americans had achieved the feat, ago four years, to bring down Fiji (30-27). With the “garra charrua” – this typically Uruguayan state of mind which combines combativeness, pride and self-sacrifice – they had signed the greatest achievement in the World Cup since Japan's resounding success over South Africa (34 -32), in Brighton in 2015. This summer, in a preparation match, the Uruguayans beat their Argentine neighbors (who fielded a reshuffled team) in Montevideo (33-13). So be wary.
For a long time, the most famous Uruguayan in the Top 14 was the emblematic second row of Castres Olympique Rodrigo Capo Ortega. An icon of the OC who carried the colors of his country very high. Today, there are still seven players playing in the French championship: Santiago Arata (Castres), Manuel Leindekar (Bayonne), Andrés Vilaseca (Vannes, Pro D2), Nicolas Freitas (Vannes), Germán Kessler (Provence Rugby, Pro D2), Felipe Berchesi (Dax, Pro D2), Agustin Ormaechea (Nice, National, 3rd division). In the Uruguayan group, we also find three other players who played for French teams: Juan Manuel Alonso (Brive), Reinaldo Piussi (Oyonnax) and Mateo Sanguinetti (Massy).
Fabien Galthié himself said: “Often, I received messages: “When are you coming?” We feel like we owe a debt to this region, which we are repaying a little. With the staff, we have a small debt with the North, since we spent a lot of time in the South. If this is the first time that the Blues of Galthié come to Lille, the XV of France has, in the recent past, already come to the northern capital.
Also read: XV of France: “I felt very quickly that Jelonch would be back with us,” confides Galthié
In November 2012, the Blues, then coached by Philippe Saint-André, won against Argentina (39-22) in Lille. Six years later, in November 2018, against these same Pumas, Jacques Brunel's troop won again in Lille (28-13). Note that this stadium also hosted the Top 14 semi-finals in 2014 and 2021. If the region vibrates for football, the oval ball is not neglected since the Hauts-de-France Regional League has more than 10,000 licensed.
In the world of rugby, we obviously know the Pumas of Argentina. But why are Uruguayans nicknamed “Teros”? The country's rugby union team chose to be named after this bird (the Northern Lapwing), present in South America. In ornithology books, this bird is presented as "quarrelsome and provoking arguments with all other species in the same meadow." Let's hope that it won't be the same on the pitch at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium in Lille...