Saint-Denis – The XV of France, quickly led but carried by his scrum-half Antoine Dupont, won their first match in seven months by winning against Wales 38-21 on Saturday at the Stade France.
The N.9 from Stade Toulouse scored a brace (30th, 34th) and offered the fourth try to his captain Charles Ollivon to overthrow the Welsh, yet well launched by the test of the former Toulon back Leigh Halfpenny from the first minute of game.
The last time France had scored five or more tries in the Leek XV dates back to a 51-0 success in … 1998. At the time, manager Raphaël Ibanez was captain, with coach Fabien Galthié replacing.
Thanks to his first double in Blue, his five and sixth international trials, Dupont (25 selections) further confirms his status as an essential part of the France team.
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Despite chronic indiscipline and the in camera, the Blues have given … their warming blue, just to prepare their “finale“of the 2020 Six Nations Tournament, in a week, against Ireland.
But coach Fabien Galthié knows he will have his work cut out for a team that has just rolled over Italy (50-17), by scoring seven tries to take the lead of the 2020 Tournament alone, stopped in March by the pandemic.
It is therefore a three-way final that will be played between Ireland and France but also England, which will travel to Italy.
For their first match since a defeat in Scotland (28-17), the Blues were a little reassured after a sluggish start to the meeting and this test conceded from the start.
Because Charles Ollivon’s teammates had a very difficult start, being penalized nine times in the first 25 minutes.
– Vakatawa was everywhere –
The strange atmosphere, in an empty stadium, does not explain everything. The Blues struggled to enter the match and their best enemy, who won three of their last five confrontations at the Stade de France, was quick to remind the young team set up by Fabien Galthié ( 25 years, 16 selections) the requirements of the high level.
Fortunately for them, Toulouse’s Cyril Baille (one try, 12th) and Romain Ntamack (13 points, 100% success) were as successful as their teammate Antoine Dupont.
Add a Virimi Vakatawa XXL in the center and the precious slaughter of the duo Bernard Le Roux and Paul Willemse in the second row and that’s enough recipe to bring down the Welsh for the second time in a row for the first time since 2011 and two wins 28-9 in the Six Nations Tournament and 9-8 in the semi-finals of the World Cup in New Zealand.
Even Teddy Thomas, yet singled out after his abysmal defensive performance in Cardiff in February, went for his test. Enough to silence the critics? With his twelfth attempt in twenty selections, the Racing 92 winger has proven that he could bring something to this XV of France in reconstruction.
Main downside, the exit at the break of the back Anthony Bouthier, who did not respond favorably to the concussion protocol.
A reassuring final, despite the fifteen turnovers conceded, before receiving the Irish, therefore, in a week. It will be necessary to put on the heating blue.