Not being able to see the world, they will smell the smell. Bastien, eight years old, left Oloron-Sainte-Marie, in the heart of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques, with his parents and his grandmother to go by train to Paris. Having failed to win a sesame in one of the Blues’ matches at the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the small Bearnaise tribe resorted to the last meeting that preceded the competition organized in France (from September 8 to October 28). . On Sunday, August 27, they will be part of the 80,000 fans who will cheer on the XV of France against Australia, at the Stade de France (5:45 p.m.). A meeting that will have the color and flavor of the World Cup, but that will precede its two-week start.
If World Rugby – the International Federation – will not officially take possession of the premises until two days after the match, and the kakemonos and exhibitions in the Dionysian enclosure will continue to be marked with the red rooster of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), no one can make a mistake : this Sunday what we should expect is a “general”. Not the fight that can bring the players together, but the final rehearsal before the big premiere.
” We can say thatconfirmed on Saturday the French captain, Antoine Dupont, at a press conference. This is the last time you can make mistakes before the start of the competition. » Once the Australian obstacle has been overcome – they expect it with some courtesy – the Bleses will return to the Stade de France on Friday, September 8 (9:00 p.m.), for the opening match of “their” World Cup against the New Zealanders.
“Sunday’s match is unprecedented, it’s the first because the stadium will be full, we expect a notable attendance, which gives some idea of the enthusiasm around our team and a preview of what will happen on September 8.”savored the general manager of Les Bleus, Raphaël Ibáñez. On Saturday, the former Landes prostitute also explained the procedure to the public: “warm up your voice” against Australia, before “to get to the heart of the matter” face aux All Blacks.
“A team needs to play”
The mechanic of this “general”, Fabien Galthié, did not want to leave his machines in the garage and chose to bet on his typical group, after three tests of a motley XV from France. From the scrum half Antoine Dupont to the hooker Julien Marchand, passing through the third row Charles Ollivon, the center Gaël Fickou or the winger Thomas Ramos, all the executives have returned. The team formed from the beginning of Sunday will be very similar to the one that should start the World Cup.
The tricolor coach could have endorsed the words of his New Zealand counterpart and future adversary. “I’m not going to protect anyone. You don’t win a World Cup by putting the players on cotton”, Ian Foster had insisted, on the eve of his troops’ rout against the South African world champions (35-7) in Twickenham (United Kingdom). Like him, Fabien Galthié has chosen to use most of his forces to complete two months of intense preparation. And ignore the risk of injury, despite the casualties of the “tauliers” Romain Ntamack (low) and Cyril Baille (absent for the first few weeks), affected during the second match against Scotland. “A team needs to play, because training is not a substitute for the game”Justified the Lot coach.
If four years ago he took the fate of the XV of France into his hands, his team has forged certainties -meeting the goals of “quickly recover matches and titles, and re-enter the top 3 in the world” –, intends to continue his rise in power. “It is the last cartridge before the start of the competition, called again this weekmy third row François Cros. So it would be good for confidence to have a good collective performance. »
Most of the places in the group of 33 players (out of the initial 42) selected to compete in the World Cup have already been allocated, after Fabien Galthié insisted that “Each player knows more or less his position” and that he did not imagine a last-minute improvisation. But all the players will be eager to improve before the fall meeting. “The preparation is good, but it’s still more fun to compete”concluded Antoine Dupont. Before blinking in the auditorium of the Stade de France: “The lights are too strong, you can’t see anything from the beginning. » In some points there are still adjustments before the World Cup.