the opening of a crucial year for ambitious Blues

More than ever, the “arrow of time” dear to Fabien Galthié is getting closer to its target. As soon as he took charge of the French men’s rugby team at the end of 2019, the Lotois coach marked in red on the calendar the date of Saturday October 28, 2023, the day of the World Cup final. rugby, hosted by France.

After sporting a revival of the XV of France, winning the first Blues title for twelve years last year and returning to the heights of world rugby, the tricolor technician and his men are starting an enticing year 2023.

Less than eight months from the World Cup – from September 8 to October 28 – a crucial deadline for these Blues, it would be easy to present the 2023 Six Nations Tournament as a dress rehearsal, where the result would be less important than the way . “Even if they project themselves on the World Cup, the players know the importance of the tournament which is comingevacuates the former French third line Imanol Harinordoquy. Moreover, given the fierce competition, the best way for them to appear in the list for the Worlds is to achieve the best performance during this tournament. »

Since presiding over the destiny of the XV of France, Fabien Galthié has focused on defense – in particular by enlisting the services of English specialist Shaun Edwards. But off the field, the former number 9 of the Blues cultivates an attacking temperament. And intends to instill it in his troops, who begin the Six Nations on Sunday February 5, in Rome (4 p.m.), a year after having achieved the grand slam.

“Are we defending a title or are we going to seek a title? philosophized the tricolor coach, during the official launch of the tournament, at the end of January in London. This is a question to be asked between us. » Gathered for two weeks in Capbreton (Landes), the French squad has decided. Presenting the 2023 tournament as “a new challenge”the second row Paul Willemse said this week that he and his partners wanted to go “seek another title rather than defend” the one won in 2022.

Thirteen Rank Victories

Another “challenge” for the Blues: extend their series of thirteen straight wins. In the event of a new grand slam, France would equal the record jointly held by New Zealand (in 2016) and England (2017). A figure that has not escaped the fan of statistics of all kinds that is Fabien Galthié. “Thinking about this record moves me and does something to me”recognizes the French coach, aware of being “on a great series” and eager to “staying in the sublime and the marvelous”. But no question for him, as for his troops, to count the dung before the end of the fair. Especially since, to achieve this, they will have to achieve what no European team has yet managed to do.

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