the marathon without a match of the XV of France

After their success on Argentina (23-21), the Blues go through a ten-day waiting period before their next meeting. They will face the United States on October 2nd.

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The XV of France in full training in Kumamoto, on September 25th. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Kumamoto airport does not only think about rugby. At the entrance, a poster also makes thanks to a local character. Shizō Kanakuri (1891-1983) became known for his participation in the 1912 Olympic Marathon. Or rather for his disappearance: ashamed of not having gone to the end of the event, he left Sweden without informing the organizers, who carried him away. Until a Swedish television found in Japan to propose to complete the race … half a century later.

An endurance race, all other things being equal, that's what the players of the XV de France expect. Ten days without a match Ten days in Kumamoto, this southern city where their plane was willing to land despite the wind from Tokyo, Monday, September 23, two days after their first victory over Argentina (23-21). That's a lot, in the life of a rugby player. Even more so at the World Cup, where the matches can also be linked to each other, on the contrary, four days apart.

These are precisely the two extremes of the XV of France. Next meeting against the United States, October 2 in Fukuoka. The following ? Third match from October 6, in Kumamoto, against Tonga.

"It's necessarily a special scheme, but we have to adapt," admits Camilla Lopez, the man of the victorious drop against the Argentines. To find the necessary resource, the replacing opener reminds that the group is getting used to it. He is two months and a half out of preparation, interspersed with barely three friendlies.

From July to the beginning of September, the French team still trained at 37. Since then, the squad has tightened around 31 players. "There are some guys who stayed in France but who are part of this group. If we have been united to the end (against Argentina)that is, we were 37 and not 31. It's a group that works together and we have to use that force. "

Earlier this week, another team-mate left Japan earlier than expected. The center Wesley Fofana will have played no minute of the competition, injured a thigh and forced to give way to the beginner Pierre-Louis Barassi. Or rather "Jean-Louis", as his new team-mates now call him, since one of them has unintentionally lost himself on his first name.

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The doubled for some

After the game against Argentina, Louis Picamoles assures: a group is being formed. Always easier to say after a victory. But credible after this long preparatory period for the World Cup. "When you spend two and a half months together, you get to know each other, how they work, everyone finds their place. " This "Lived", he assures, has already contributed to the first success: "On the field, seeing the game leaders communicate a lot has brought peace and calm to everyone. "

Same satisfaction of another thirty-something, Captain Guilhem Guirado, who also plays his third World Cup: "I feel really good in this group. In 2015, there was a real gap between the most experienced and the youngest. There was not the same osmosis as today. It's more varied. There are experienced, young people but also an intermediate generation. "

After "Two big days" sunny work (dixit pillar Cyril Baille), the French are preparing to enjoy a day of free time, Thursday, September 26. Let them rest, because some could play the double: play two games in four days, against Americans and Tonguans. But none should argue the entirety, warns Thibault Giroud, their shouting physical trainer.

"We must quickly evacuate this victory" against Argentina, asks in any case the pillar Jefferson Poirot. " It must be borne in mind that this was not the game of our life. " Three more are waiting for them if they want to keep one of the two places in Group C qualifiers for the quarter-finals. Poirot evokes "Two capital games" against the United States and Tonga; opponents not to take lightly if we remember the Tongan victory in 2011. Then a kind of "Final" against England, October 12th.


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