"Will have to ask him", advises Jefferson Poirot. "He farted the shots, point, Camille Lopez concludes. "No explanation, no idea," assures Damian Penaud. It is a bit short to comment on the gesture of their teammate, Sébastien Vahaamahina, that all refuse to overwhelm. Sunday, October 20, to leave the stadium of Oita, the second line of the XV of France obviously took a different path than that of the journalists.
Not the heart to talk hot this quarter-final lost a thing against the Welsh (20-19). And even less to return to his red card, early in the second period (49e): Decision quite logical after his blood test, or rather his nudge, in the jaw of Aaron Wainwright.
An "indefensible" gesture, recognized "Vahaa" in the privacy of the locker room. Without explanation other than the following: "I completely lost the lead, I think. " Comments intended for his only teammates … until TF1 broadcasts them.
He will be auditioned Thursday, October 24 by an independent commission of discipline, announced, Monday, World Rugby.
"He apologized, he was very moved"
The defeat consumed, we saw despite all the second line of Clermont approach again ground for the guard of honor to the winners. Without his helmet, and without a smile. "Of course he blames himself, he takes a red card and leaves us at fourteen during part of the match, but in no case the group will resent him"assures Lopez, entered during the match instead of Romain Ntamack.
Part of the match is the last thirty minutes. It's long, outnumbered. France led 19-10, she finally lost 19-20. "I do not think that this red card has really demobilized us," Ntamack adds. The young opener also takes the defense of "Vahaa", saying that "He's not the culprit" to whom to attribute the defeat.
An argument in his defense: "We do not take the test (of the defeat) on the red card. " Exact: the Blues having conceded the fatal test six minutes from the end of the match, having long held good in numerical inferiority.
"Vahaa" still spoke after the match. But in the locker room. "He apologized, he was very moved," says Poirot without saying more. Before specifying immediately: "There, there is this unfortunate gesture, but at fifteen against fifteen it could also be the same scenario, we do not know. "
Same speech of the coach: according to Jacques Brunel, "This team has not only had a lot of courage, but it has also been able to show off despite its numerical inferiority, with opportunities to score."
Damian Penaud also evokes a poorly controlled end of the match: "We have to manage our camp out and our scrum better. " Another reason for regret, no doubt: these two balls tapped against the posts by Ntamack, in the first period, first a failed transformation, then a penalty.
As always after a defeat, Brunel had encouraging words and promised to "Good tomorrow". Perhaps, but he has just missed his chance: at 65, the coach is preparing to hand over to Fabien Galthie, already his deputy this fall.
Last press conference in quality also for Guilhem Guirado. At 33, the hooker played his last match as captain of the XV of France. He too had trouble putting words on Vahaamahina's gesture: "A reflex gesture, we can not say anything more. "
A precedent "fodder of sinkers" in Top 14
For the moment, it is impossible to know whether or not Welsh provocation has occurred. Remains in any case this ultimate regret: Vahaamahina had started the game very well, registering the first try in the fifth minute, and weighing all his weight (126 kg), all his double meter.
In May, The world had met the player in a box at the Marcel-Michelin stadium in Clermont-Ferrand. He explained then to talk with a mental trainer since the end of 2018. An interlocutor installed in Perpignan, the city of his previous club. "I felt progress in my game, I feel much more free, it gives me more confidence. " In Auvergne, the second-line also called on a sophrologist.
Two outside helpers that "Vahaa" asked for after having already "Farted a little leaden", by his own admission, during a match of the championship of France. It was after a first expulsion with Clermont in April 2018, and especially after a finger of honor inflicted on the public of Agen. A gesture that had an explanation: "The period between April and May was very complicated for me on the ground, this is the period when I lost my father (May 5, 2013). I put pressure on myself, I needed it out, and it came out negatively. "