"Something is happening" among the Blues

Coach Jacques Brunel at a training session in Kumamoto, September 27, 2019. Franck Fife / AFP

Music of warming up. On the way to training, Gaël Fickou holds a speaker. He and his teammates of the XV of France leave the bus to the sound of a new generation singer, Aya Nakamura. With a specific piece, Pookie. To say "poucave", "balance", in slang. This Saturday, September 28, the Blues want to joke, says one of them, Sofiane Guitoune. A " subliminal message " to the journalists having quickly nibbled the composition of the team summoned against the United States, Wednesday, October 2, in Fukuoka.

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Some followers had the reference, others did not. All this to say that this group has fun in this start of World Cup in Japan, ten days after an initial success (23-21) on Argentina. And not only with the journalists crossed last week in Kumamoto, where umbrellas are used mainly to shelter from a southern dodger. "Something has happened, something is happening", wants to believe Jacques Brunel. As "Connivance in the field and outside", says the coach, not unhappy that the question is asked in a press conference.

Smiling faces

To summarize, the group lives well. It's a ready-made sentence. But an element of language that this time seems to correspond to a part of reality. At least the one that this XV of France wants to deliver at spaced intervals, the time of rare moments of exchange with the press. "There, we start to take pleasure in the field," assures Grégory Alldritt. Always easy to say, certainly, after a positive result.

Let's face it: without the saving drop of Camille Lopez against Argentina, what would it be? Would we have seen these smiling faces and well disposed, Sunday, September 29? In shorts and windbreakers, ten Bleus made a Sunday appearance in the fan-zone of Kumamoto. Passage of an hour with, optionally, several workshops: send the ball into the target (not so simple …) or hoist young children (or not so young) in the air to receive a touch.

"It's been three months that we live together, yes, it creates links, it is close to what is done in a club. Grégory Alldritt, third-line

"Between the Six Nations Tournament and the World Cup, it's a little day and night"Alldritt agrees. Necessarily. In March, the Blues finished at the 4e place of the Tournament. A curly competition with the still fresh memory of routs in England and Ireland, and above all, the gloom of all previous failures: no title since the Grand Slam of 2010.

Beyond accounting, there are especially all these minutes in common. The Blues began their preparation on June 25 for the first, July 6 for the last, depending on the course of their clubs in the league of France.

"When we play the Tournament or the summer or November tours, we do not live so long together, recalls the hooker Racing, Camille Chat. There, we are together twenty-four hours a day, there are automatisms that take place. "

Aldritt, Stade Rochelais, confirms: "It's been three months that we live together, yes, it creates links, it is close to what is done in a club. "We exchange more, we put the words, we discuss. We manage to talk to each other without shouting at each other », appreciated the second-line Sebastien Vahaamahina, from mid-August, after a test-match won in Nice against Scotland.


If there is one who appreciates it is Guilhem Guirado. Especially in the yard of the previous World: "In 2015, there was a real gap between the most experienced and the youngest, there was not the same osmosis as today. " This time, here is the thirty-something captain. Except against the United States, where it is a question of blowing: Camille Chat replaces him to the position of hooker and Louis Picamoles in the role of the captain.

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Today, " it's more varied, " according to Guirado. "There are experienced people, young people but also an intermediate generation. " Like Picamoles, the 30-year-old is already playing his third World Cup. "A good mix"says Alldritt, 22, a former Auch, who has been professional in La Rochelle for just two seasons. "We are still a lot of young people, but the elders we frame well to remind us also the values ​​of rugby. " Ah, the famous values! As it happens ? "They remind us that at the beginning, they were the ones who put the gear in order. "

Before closing their first round against England, the Blues must already come out unscathed two games in four days against the United States and Tonguans.

As every game, the one against the United States will still discontent some. Baptiste Serin, replacing Wednesday, had already confessed "Disappointed" of his non-convocation against Argentina. " It's not always easy to swallow because we all want to be in the field. " In Tokyo, the reservist had given the change. With Sofiane Guitoune, it was he who had had photos in the locker room. Those present, but also absent, injured or removed from the list after the summer preparation.

Serin did not "Not the same mustache as Adil Rami", certainly. But the parallel with " a good mood " footballer, world champion 2018 without having played a minute, should perhaps suit him. The Rugby Blues are for the moment very far from a consecration. Before closing their first round against England, they will already be unscathed from two matches in four days: against the United States on October 2, then, and against Tonguans. Two opponents not to be taken lightly. Even less if you have undergone, like Guirado and Picamoles, the defeat of 2011 against the same Kingdom of Tonga.

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