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Wales – Portugal: the favorites and favorites of our special correspondent

In Nice.

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Wales – Portugal: the favorites and favorites of our special correspondent

In Nice

FAVORITES

In 2007, for their first participation, the Portuguese suffered three heavy defeats against Scotland (56-10), New Zealand (108-13) and Italy (31-5). But each time, they saved the honor with at least one try scored. They did not do better for their second participation. It’s not for lack of trying! The score for the Welsh, the spectacle for the Portuguese. Desire and ambitions on their side. If Little Thumb's enthusiasm didn't always pay off, he delighted in particular in the first half with some great offensive intentions. Sublime kicks, as evidenced by two successful 50-22s in the first 40 minutes.

Full-back Sousa Guedes, very fast, set the ball on fire in the 16th minute with a 40-meter breakthrough in the Welsh defense, before Martins was finally caught 15 meters from the XV du Poireau goal. This same Martins, third row of Soyaux-Angoulême (Pro D2), was rewarded in the 63rd following a superb combination. In the 67th minute, Cerqueira, guilty of a nasty move forward in the opposing 22 meters, missed the opportunity for a second try for the Portuguese. The Lobos faltered too much in finishing. Damage. Against Georgia next week, Lagisquet's men will attempt a first: score more than one try per match and win the match. In their ropes.

11 of the 23 players on the match sheet play in France. The Lobos played almost at home in a country where the Portuguese community is large. But at the Allianz Riviera, the Welsh supporters were especially numerous. In the city center, Place Massena, they braved the storms. On the tram, coming to the stadium, we only saw them, on the outskirts of the Allianz Riviera, beers in hand, it was also just them. In the minority, the thousands of Lusitanian fans still managed to make themselves heard (a little). And they also did not hide their annoyance by insulting Louis Rees-Zammit when the Red Devils winger celebrated his try like a certain... Cristiano Ronaldo, the icon of Portuguese football. Because, yes, Portugal is not just about its football team.

Against Uruguay, France B was scared. Wales B did not look down on their modest opponent. The Welsh did the job after trembling against Fiji (32-26) when they entered the competition. The Welsh were realistic and knew how to seize their opportunities, despite a lot of clumsiness in attack. After a completely failed Six Nations Tournament, we cannot say, however, that this very dull formation exudes great confidence, but it was able to press where it hurts by taking advantage of Portugal's weaknesses up front. And she knew not to break when, reduced to 14 in the first period, she gave in to defense in the face of the opposing team's enthusiasm. And by snatching the offensive bonus, Gatland's men provided the essentials, unlike the French XV against Uruguay...

CLAW STRIKES

Clumsiness or bad luck? A bit of both. The Béziers scrum half Marques and scorer for the selection, who had passed the decisive penalty to qualify his team for the World Cup, found the post and missed a fairly easy penalty from 15 meters in the 5th minute. A great opportunity to open the score for the Lusitanians, authors of an encouraging start to the match. Marquès again missed a great opportunity 40 meters in front of the posts to reduce the score in the 52nd. And what about the new post found on his attempted conversion (64th). Points gone which cost the outsiders dearly.

Portugal's French coach Patrice Lagisquet feared the opposing power. And this was confirmed. Dominated in the rucks and penetrating groups, the Os Lobos forwards exploded against the power of Lake in the 43rd, author of a powerful try. They also conceded a second try, following a lost scrum in their camp (44th).

We don't get used to it. The Blues who play as White against the Blacks. South Africa which wears white and turquoise, quite flashy against Scotland, and these Red Devils who play with a black jersey and yellow stripes, closer to the Rochelle jersey than to the traditional Leek XV jersey . We know that the International Federation (World Rugby) requires the two teams to wear very different colors. This new regulation therefore prohibits the two XVs from each wearing a dark jersey. But the Welsh Red would have contrasted perfectly with the Portuguese White...

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