an unrecognizable French XV avoids the fall, but stumbles against Italy

Arriving in the Lille metropolis on Friday, the Blues escaped the passage of storm Louis, having caused a lot of damage mid-week in the North. But they barely managed to avoid another type of disruption on Sunday February 25. Without ideas and undisciplined, the XV of France conceded a poor draw against Italy (13-13) at the Pierre-Mauroy stadium, for its third exit from the Six Nations Tournament. A performance which questions the level of the French team, successively dominated in great ways by Ireland, then miraculously victorious in Scotland.

Read also | France-Italy: an imprecise French XV concedes a happy draw against the Italians

“The atmosphere is different” since the victory at Murrayfield, however affirmed Captain Charles Ollivon before the meeting. The fact remains that everyone was well aware that a defeat against the Azzurri, who were in last place in the Tournament, would have caused chaos. The fall was only avoided thanks to a penalty sent onto the post by the fly-half Paolo Garbisi at the last second; but the Blues seriously stumbled on Sunday.

“When we don’t win, it’s not positiveconsidered coach Fabien Galthié at the end of the match, as stunned as his players. It is a difficult and painful period to live through, because the result is not what was expected. We are aware that we are in trouble. » In his eyes, on this match “not much is missing, but it’s a lot”.

The Blues, however, seemed set to offer the Lille public, keen on rugby since the World Cup, a recital in the same tone as the last clash against the Transalpines – a big victory during the World Cup (60-7). And this despite the loss of winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey, victim of a stiff neck on Saturday. In the absence of the one who is nicknamed “scooter” – but also their usual captain Grégory Alldritt, who remained in the garage due to an injury to his left leg – the XV of France started the match flat out.

Lack of inspiration and realism

Urging his team to “focus on doing simple things the right way” on Saturday, Charles Ollivon set an example by forcefully flattening a first try (7e). In the process, the right axis of the French scrum peaking at almost 300 kg between Uini Atonio and Posolo Tuilagi put the poor Italian left pillar Danilo Fischetti to torment, to recover a penalty converted by Thomas Ramos (10-0, 14e).

The start of the tricolor fireworks? Rather the end of the festivities. Because if the Blues continued to trample the Italian part of the field while theirs looked more and more like a fallow field, they did not succeed in achieving their domination. Peato Mauvaka, Matthieu Jalibert, Matthis Lebel and Damian Penaud each showing themselves imprecise in front of the scoring zone.

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