Grand Slam is far away

“Before talking about the Grand Slam, we must say that the road is still long as we have three games left. This win is good for our state of mind and our solidarity, but all the rest of the matches will be difficult. » Wise words from columnist Cyril Bailly (collected in the microphone of France Television), who got his teammates back on track in the 54th minute. The Blues came out of a delicate period against a dangerously rising green wave, making a hard effort behind the Irish in-goal.

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During the official post-match press conference, coach Fabian Galthy completely avoided the topic of a potential Grand Slam reaching the Blues, at least on an arithmetic level, as they are the only ones in the race to achieve it. , five other candidates all lost one match. The Grand Slam behind which the French have been running for twelve years is therefore on the minds of everyone, but not in the words of the first interested parties, aware that there is still a long way to go. “We have a week to recover, recover and come back strong against Scotland in two weeks.” The three-quarters center continues Gaël Fickou.

As in the previous two seasons, the Blues started at just the right pace for this tournament. But during the 2020 and 2021 editions, he made the same debut before stumbling: during Fabian Galthy’s first edition in Scotland (28-17), then in England (23-20) the following year.

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These defeats offered Galthy’s men, who have the best win rate for a coach in ages, a second place that is no longer good enough for Blues supporters. Those who are already dreaming big of the 2010–2011 scenario: the Grand Slam, followed by the World Cup final, lost against the All Blacks in New Zealand.

always falling in concentration

For that, it would be necessary to solve the last still incomplete equation of this XV of France almost at the top of his game. Now that the historical indulgence of the French (indiscipline on reorganization, generating punishment) is implied, it remains to regulate the consistency in concentration. Once again, the Blues were in for a surprise against the Irish in weak stages, when the game seemed to be in the field. And opponents rest only in appearance.

Is this microtuning still possible before Scotland? “You also have to accept the vulnerable times and manage to limit the influence, which is sometimes violent. It happened against blacks, happened today (Against Ireland, editor’s note), We managed to gain control in conditions that were particularly difficult tactically, physically and strategically, with a different adversary profile. Beyond winning, it means there is a form of collective trust that pervades the team.” Makes the coach angry.

After Scotland on 26 February, who have surprised their world for two seasons, then it will be necessary to make a good trip to Cardiff on 11 March, where the defending champions look forward to the Blues. And then get to England on March 19 for this tournament’s final uplift of all the hope generated by this Saturday win against Ireland.

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“Hopefully we’ll have some fun playing that day,” Explains Antoine DuPont, who wants to finish this tournament as well as finish last season with the title of best player in the world.

Anyway, the afternoon of Saturday 12 February will remain a wonderful memory for the players. But also for spectators and television viewers: there was a winner, but beautiful rugby was on both sides.

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About the Author: Piers Parker

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