at the end of the suspense, the Blues succeed in their comeback against Australia

Damian Penaud (right) escapes Len Ikitau during France-Australia, November 5, 2022, at the Stade de France.

The seasons follow one another and look alike (for the moment) for the XV of France. Authors of ten successes in as many meetings in 2021-2022, the Blues added an eleventh on Saturday November 5 – a record for them – by bringing down Australia (30-29). In a full Stade de France, the French ran after the score for a long time and relied on a feat by Damian Penaud in the last minutes to get by.

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“We are always happy to meet again, it has been three years since this group got to know each other and gained confidence” confided in the world the third line Grégory Alldritt in the week. And it does indeed seem that nothing can happen to the XV of France of coach Fabien Galthié, who proved it again against Australia by going for a victory which seemed almost unexpected in the last minutes, and which took time to To draw oneself !

For their comeback, Antoine Dupont and his teammates had a hard time getting into the rhythm. Something rare enough to be underlined, the Toulouse scrum-half was guilty of a few technical fouls and bad choices while his forwards regularly retreated on impact, and were largely dominated by their Australian counterparts on the first scrum.

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It is thus almost logical that after two penalties scored on each side, it was the Wallabies who shot first with a try from Lalakai Foketi, following an overflow from winger Tom Wright (19e). Without too many solutions, apart from the foot of Thomas Ramos (7/9 against the poles on Saturday), the Blues seemed destined to return to the locker room at halftime with a disbursement on the scoreboard. But as the siren sounded in the stadium, Julien Marchand had the good idea to score his first try with the jersey struck by the rooster (40e19-13).

The individual feat of Damian Penaud

The many French supporters present in Saint-Denis surely expected then to see their team unfold, but the start of the second half did not meet their expectations, nor those of Fabien Galthié, asking his players “to break free” at the microphone of France Télévisions at halftime. On the contrary, it was the Australians who took matters into their own hands with a try by Jock Campbell (56e).

Less than a year from “their” World Cup in France, the Blues then seemed to be heading for defeat. But having found the way to win a title last season (their first Six Nations Tournament for twelve years), the Blues have also forgotten how to lose. And receiving a ball on his wing three minutes from the end of the match, Damian Penaud obviously did not want to remember: a hook on a first defender then a racket on the second, the Clermontois charged alone, or almost, to snatch victory for the XV of France with a corner try.

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“It gives chills, these are really good times. At international level, there is not a single easy game. We knew it was going to be tough until the end. Nobody gave up and the state of mind allowed us to win the match,” confided to France Télévisions at the end of the meeting the third row Charles Ollivon, named man of the match.

The French confirm against a major nation, which had not always been successful for them lately (3 wins out of the 10 previous matches). Only South Africa is still missing from the list of this XV of France Fabien Galthié version. That’s good, Cheslin Kolbe and his teammates have an appointment with the Blues on Saturday November 12 at the Stade-Vélodrome, in Marseille.


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