the XV of France still wants to believe

The Blues, who accumulate disappointments for almost ten years, start the World Cup with a clash against Argentina, Saturday, September 21 (9:15).

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Training of the Blues in Fujiyoshida, September 16th.
Training of the Blues in Fujiyoshida, September 16th. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

There is the mountain, the real, the beautiful, though foggy, Mount Fuji. And there is the roller coaster, these rails set in a vacuum, a blow up, a blow down. His first days in Japan, in his hotel in Fujiyoshida, the XV of France passed them right next to a huge theme park. But if it took an attraction to summarize the state of French rugby, as much as entering a haunted house.

"We are not going to lie, today we are inferior," says Arthur Iturria

A haunted mission, so to speak: the French will start in this World Cup against Argentina, already victorious in the inaugural duel of the 2007 edition of the World Cup. If they then seemed still favorites in Saint-Denis, the situation has changed before this next game in Tokyo, Saturday, September 21st. "We are not going to lie, today we are inferior", points out Arthur Iturria, third line of Clermont, who still believes in his chances of victory.

A defeat against the Argentinian Pumas, and the Blues could already think to prepare their package for the return flight, considering the composition of their hen. They will face in three weeks one of the great favorites of the tournament, England; after two matches a priori less appalling, against the United States and Tonga.

A "group of death"

But the French players know that only the top two teams in Group C – that of "death" – will advance to the quarter-finals. What they probably know too, from hearing or reading, is that an elimination in the first round would mark a sad first in nine editions of the World Cup.

Read also Rugby World Cup 2019: Group C as "crunchy"

On Wednesday, they still smiled from Fujiyoshida. Here, the center Sofiane Guitoune signing an autograph. There, the usual captain Guilhem Guirado posing with three Japanese girls before getting on the bus to Tokyo. On the t-shirt of one of them, this inscription in French: "Music is the food of love. " The sentence is yet of an Englishman, William Shakespeare, born even before the invention of rugby.

The next truism comes from a Blue. Whatever the context, in good "Competitor, you enter the field to win all the matches". Sebastien Vahaamahina said it to better repel the nightmare of a defeat. The second line of Clermont ensures, as if he wanted to make a little room for dreams. To all these hopes accumulated during two months of preparation and three friendly matches, yet never quite reassuring: two wins too easy to believe against Scotland "bis" (32-3) and Italy (47-19) , interspersed with a clumsy defeat (17-14) against the Scottish holders.


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