a successful start, but complicated, for the XV of France

Despite a second catastrophic period, the Blues beat the Argentines, 23-21.

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Gaël Fickou scored the first French try against Argentina on Saturday (September 21st) in Tokyo.
Gaël Fickou scored the first French try against Argentina on Saturday (September 21st) in Tokyo. Christophe Ena / AP

Predictions, like the weather, can be wrong: we feared rain and defeat. There was neither one nor the other. The Blues finally waited for the best moment to undo the pessimists: a win and even more meritorious (23-21) on Argentina, for their first match of the World Cup, in a Tokyo stadium almost full, Saturday, September 21st.

The game just finished, the shots continued for a few seconds. The time of a brawl almost general to settle this meeting so trying, so breathless. France scored 20 points in the first period … before taking 18 in the second. But this time, the nerves have held up.

How many previous games, the past two seasons, the Blues had they yielded late? Welsh, South Africans and Scots have their small idea on the issue. Nothing like that, this afternoon. Despite this 68e minute, when after running behind the score during the majority of the match, Argentina passes in front (20-21) on a penalty.

For just a few seconds! A drop Camille Lopez, just entered the game, and the XV of France takes over (23-21) to keep it to the end. The first drop for France in World Cup since that of François Trinh-Duc, in 2011, against England.

Last fright at 79e minute, at the end of the match: new penalty whistled in favor of Argentina. Emiliano Boffeli tries it, far off on the left side. Failed. "Everyone saw us losers, recalled Lopez after the match, out of the locker room. We did a good thing tonight. " On the field, simple joy of men who were predicted defeat.

Read the analysis: the XV of France still wants to believe

A second half, long, very long …

But it was long, this end of the match! And painful to follow! France declined as the match progressed. She was still leading 20-3 at halftime. It was broad, but deserved: two essays by Gael Fickou, then, on a very fine movement, Antoine Dupont; transformed each time by Romain Ntamack. All the reverse in the second period: 18 points (including two tries) for Argentina, only 3 points for the Blues, those of the Lopez drop. "This second period will serve us for this competition, now esteem him, and that's good because it will give us a little booster shot. We made a second half where we are deprived of balloon and this is precisely where we put ourselves in danger. "

The post-match sound paid tribute to the French. "We'll all go to heaven," sang Polnareff. The Blues would see themselves especially in the quarterfinals of the World Cup, to begin. Their supporters too, sometimes singing "Come on the Blues", sometimes The Marseillaise. It is now highly possible, subject to the next three games, which will determine the two teams qualified group C. First against the United States (October 2) and Tonga. Then, especially, facing an England that is presented as impregnable. But, after all, the forecasts and the weather …

Wesley Fofana package

The center of the XV of France Wesley Fofana, injured with a thigh, forfeited the end of the World Cup, announced Saturday the French Rugby Federation. He is replaced by Pierre-Louis Barassi, called for the first time in blue. Fofana (31 years, 48 ​​caps) had forfeited the first game of the Blues on Saturday against Argentina (23-21), after being touched against Italy in the last warm-up match on August 30. This package precipitates the end of international career of Fofana, who said that this World would be his last adventure in selection, if he participated.

Read also: group C as "crunchy"


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