How have you lived these last few months since the elimination in the World Cup?Jonathan DANTY. - The descent was very hard. We lived together for four months, we spent friendly moments with our families and children. Coming home overnight is always tricky. We find routine, a different life, with dishes and laundry to do (laughs). We are aware of being privileged. And we all worked hard to return to the French team.
Can a victory in the Tournament be a consolation for the World Cup? Unfortunately, the World Cup is a thing of the past now. There is no longer any point in going back. So we try, between us, to talk about it as little as possible. We are focused on this match against Ireland. We want to start the Tournament in the best possible way. We know that in even years, with three receptions, it's rather interesting...
In the center, with Gaël Fickou, you will be expected after a lackluster World Cup... With Gaël, we were quite criticized. But we have the confidence of the staff. And, I hope, from our teammates (smile). We have demonstrated maturity for several years already. In times that are a little more difficult individually, we know that we can find ourselves in the collective. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself but I think we'll be there on Friday...
You are 31 years old, are you planning on the 2027 World Cup? I am already going to make the most of this Tournament. We'll see what happens next, competition by competition. For four years, I have had a day-to-day vision and I will continue to do so.
Your captain at Stade Rochelais, Grégory Alldritt, is also now in blue. What kind of captain is he? He's quite talkative, he talks a lot. He took the captaincy at La Rochelle through Ronan O'Gara. He therefore has an Anglo-Saxon vision of the position, requiring a lot of precision and application. While remaining a little French by adding a smile. In the French team, it is a unanimous choice of the staff. He is a leader in words and, above all, in actions.
With a hinge and wingers from UBB, does this mean that France will play “Bordeaux style”? Their DNA is different from what I know in La Rochelle. In Bordeaux, they play more than us. But here, we are in the French team. We have a game plan, a tactic that we all agree on. We are focusing on the strategy of the XV of France.
Ireland without its playing master Jonathan Sexton, recently retired, will it be different? Ireland has been applying the same patterns, playing the same way for quite a few years. With La Rochelle, we faced Leinster at the start of the season and it was the same playing system as before. So no. In my opinion, we should not expect big changes.
Sexton's successor will be scrutinized. Should we put pressure on him to make him thwart? (Embarrassed) Yes and no. We saw that he had qualities and weaknesses. But we focus more on ourselves than on the opposing team…
Comments collected at a press conference