during the “crunch”, the Blues attack the fortress of Twickenham

In 2021, the English won at Twickenham against the Blues… in front of empty stands.

The wall has held since February 13, 2005. The French have not won an official match at Twickenham for more than eighteen years. At the time, Dimitri Yachvili had number 9 on his back, and the current consultant for France Télévisions had scored, on the tip of his foot, all the tricolor points (18-17). “It’s true that it goes back, it’s not easy to win in England, does he observe. But for the English, Twickenham is their garden. » And the meticulousness with which the British maintain their lawns is well established.

Read also: England-France live: follow the match of the Six Nations Tournament

After a mixed start to the Six Nations Tournament – ​​victory in Italy and against Scotland, and defeat in Ireland – the XV of France comes up against England in “the temple of world rugby”, as Fabien Galthié calls him. Saturday March 11, at 5:45 p.m. (French time), the Twickenham stadium, its history and its 80,000 spectators welcome the men of the Lot coach. The opportunity to complete the grid of stadiums where the Blues have won since the former international scrum half took office. “We never won there. [sous l’ère Galthié]it will be a big challenge”second-row Paul Willemse warned this week.

Coming twice to the suburbs of London, at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, Antoine Dupont’s partners conceded two short defeats there (19-22 and 20-23). Since the first French trip to the enclosure, in 1911, the number of tricolor victories just exceeds the fingers of two hands (eleven). “This series gives the England team a lot to be confident about, and gives us an idea of ​​the scale of the task ahead of us”explains Raphaël Ibanez, the general manager of the Blues.

The XV de la Rose has lost its luster

If they say that the important thing is to defeat the Rose, “above all to keep our chances in the Tournament, more than any statistics”as Ethan Dumortier put it, all French players know their history inside out. “It will be up to us to ward off fate”continues the tricolor winger. “It’s a game we love, a legendary stadium, believes the second line Thibaud Flament. Twickenham has a special flavor. » For him in particular, who studied in ovaly across the Channel and visited the enclosure when he was at Loughborough University. “I looked with wide eyes and I dreamed of walking on this lawn one day. »

Because Twickenham is not a stadium like the others. “The rugby community in England refers to it as ‘HQ’, the headquarters, exhibits Phil McGowan, curator of the rugby museum housed in the English stadium. There is a special relationship to this enclosure. Every player in the country has the ambition to evolve there, ideally under the colors of England, but there are other opportunities. » From academics to the English championship, different finals are played there.

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