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Post by sensisball on Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:51 am

After another poor 6 Nations display are there any reasons for optimism about France’s chances in the World Cup? There were a few green shoots in terms of new or relatively new players. Iturria and Penauld made their transitions to backrow and wing fairly seamlessly. Du Pont proved a more than effective scrum-half, allying a great pass, good decision making with almost freakish physicality for one so small. Young Gregory Alldritt looks like a more than able replacement for king Louis, much quicker and proving to be a more able defender than the old war-horse. Bamba was able to step up to full international level although not unsurprisingly he wasn’t as dominant as he was at u20 level, where he helped France to overwhelm England’s scrum in the final of the 2018 U20 WC.

The interesting development is that the next France coach, Fabien Galthie is on board for the World Cup. He is officially playing a supporting role to Brunel, who remains the head coach.

However, observers at Les Bleus training camps note that Galthie seems to be calling the shots. The players talk about being asked to play a high tempo game with a greater emphasis of training with ball in hand. Apparently Galthie had an epiphany watching Glasgow warm up for their European fixture when he coached Montpellier back in 2014. He was impressed by the pace and accuracy with which Glasgow worked, even in their warm up and saw that as a blueprint for French rugby instead of the often slow forward dominated game. Unfortunately for Galthie a run of bad form and injuries to key players (Trin-Duc, Ouedraogo and Gorgodze ) led to a poor finish and then the sack at the end of the 2014 season by the disgruntled owner.

Galthie has enjoyed success as a club coach, firstly as backs coach at Stade Francais under Nick Mallet where they reached the finals of the T14 and Heineken cup, unfortunately losing both matches. Montpellier also made the finals of the T14 in his first year in charge, in 2010, even though they had a much smaller budget than most of the other more established clubs.

Selection for the World Cup was carried out by Brunel and the most significant omission was that of Matheau Basteraud, former captain and talisman of the team. By replacing him with the form outside centre of last year, Sofian Guitoune, of Toulouse, suddenly France can contemplate a high tempo game. Brunel’s decision to play Penauld on the wing now looks like a master stroke rather than a contrivance to keep MB in the team.

Brunel has also included three uncapped players in his squad in Clermont Auvergne wing Alivereti Raka, Toulouse hooker Peato Mauvaka and Toulon prop Emerick Setiano, but there is no space for Racing 92 wing Teddy Thomas, veteran Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra (burnt his boats with disparaging public comments about the coaching staff after the England game) or the massive but immobile La Rochelle prop Uini Atonio.

A back line with Du Pont, Fofana, Guitoune, Penauld and Raka should be able to frighten the life out of anyone but questions obviously remain:

Can Rabah Slimani find the kind of scrum dominance he has domestically at international level?

Can Lopez get enough quick ball to pull the strings like he does for Clermont?

Will Huget break a toe tripping in the shower?

Will Raka remain injury free long enough to make an impact in the tournament?

Most importantly after such a long run of dismal form do the players actually believe that can make their mark?

Many French fans seem to think that Galthie’s impact will be too late for this tournament as the players are unfit and not skilful enough. However with 16 of the 31 player main squad coming from Toulouse, Clermont or La Rochelle, all teams that are used to playing at pace, there are some reasons to be optimistic.

Squad:
G Alldritt (La Rochelle), D Bamba (Brive), Y Camara (Montpellier), C Chat (Racing 92), G Doumayrou (La Rochelle), A Dupont (Toulouse), G Fickou (Stade Francais), W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), P Gabrillagues (Stade Francais), G Guirado (Toulon), S Guitoune (Toulouse), Y Huget (Toulouse), A Uturria (Clermont Auvergne), F Lambey (Lyon), W Lauret (Racing 92), B Le Roux (Racing 92), C Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), M Machenaud (Racing 92), P Mauvaka (Toulouse), M Medard (Toulouse), R Ntamack (Toulouse), D Penaud (Clermont Auvergne), L Picamoles (Montpellier), J Poirot (Bordeax-Begles), D Priso (La Rochelle), A Raka (Clermont Auvergne), T Ramos (Toulouse), B Serin (Bordeaux-Begles), E Setiano (Toulon), R Slimani (Clermont Auvergne), S Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne).
Reserves: A Belleau (Toulon), F Cros (Toulouse), C Baille (Toulouse), C Ollivon (Toulon), V Rattez (La Rochelle), R Taofifenau (Toulon).



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Post by sensisball on Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:27 am

France team for Saturday:
Medard 15
Penaud 14
Fontana 13
Fickou 12
Raka 11
Lopez 10
Du Pont 9
Cros 8
Alldrit 7
Ollivon 6
Vaahamahina 5
Gabrillagues 4
Slimani 3
Chat 2
Poirot (c) 1
Replacements:
Mauvaka 16
Priso 17
Sentiano 18
Lambey 19
Picamoles 20
Serin 21
Ntamack 22
Ramos 23

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Post by LondonTiger on Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:40 am

sensisball wrote:
Fontana 13

Poirot (c) 1

 Fofana I assume rather than Fontana?

Poirot as skipper shocks me. Never a fan of props captaining especially one who seems pretty average and is usually replaced pretty early.

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Post by sensisball on Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:48 am

Sorry didn't double check the spelling, yes it is Fofana at 13.
I agree Poirot is pretty average and doesn't strike me as a leader either.
I would think Picamoles would take charge later on once Priso replaces Poirot. Interesting that Cros who is normally a 7 is playing 8 whilst Alldrit and Ollivon, both usually 8's are playing on the flanks.
If Picamoles replaces Cros then there would be three 8's in the back row.
How very French.


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Post by sensisball on Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:02 pm

Doumayrou out of the world cup with Achilles injury. Brunel to announce his replacement by tomorrow. It definitely will not be Basterau, says Brunel of his former captain. Looks like Galthie really is pulling the strings in this campaign.

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Post by Tramptastic on Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:03 pm

Who's likely to replace him?

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Post by sensisball on Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:49 pm

Probably a back from the reserve squad of 6. Belleau the young Toulon 10/12 has the best shot.
Not sure if Brunel is allowed to select anyone outside the reserve group. Should find out tomorrow.

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Post by sensisball on Sat Aug 17, 2019 8:39 am

It's now official Bastareaud is now playing at 8 for Lyon. Had 40 minutes in a friendly win against Clermont. So definitely not going to be called up as 13 cover for Doumayrou.

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Post by sensisball on Sun Aug 18, 2019 9:58 am

France 32 Scotland 3

An emphatic win against a disjointed and seemingly badly conditioned Scottish side.
French front five were pretty dominant allowing the back row to attack through the middle. Alldrit in particular was impressive and capped his display with a nice score from a good lineout drive.
Cros played well for a debutant and Ollivon enjoyed his return after a long series of injuries.
Du Pont was a constant threat: quick and accurate service, excellent box kicking and some great running. Finished off a brilliant break by Penaud after running a great support line.
Lopez looked more like his Clermont self with some nice touches- pop pass to Cros being a particular highlight. However questions remain about his goal kicking temperament, only making 3 out of 6 attempts.
Centres of Fofana and Fickou looked comfortable in attack and defence, for the most part. Duncan Taylor didn't get much change from running at Fofana and looked absolutely spent by the time he came off in the second half. In fairness he has only managed a handful of games over the last 12 months recovering from a succession of bad injuries.
Raka scored a nice early try and looked dangerous on attack. Darcy Graham did a great job of stopping him before he got into his running on several occasions.
Penaud didn't see a huge amount of ball in the first half was more involved after the break. Had a beautiful mazy run to set up Du Pont for his try.
At fullback Medard was great in attack grabbing a brace of tries. He, like all the squad, looked in great condition and ran with the pace he displayed when he first played for France.
Marks out of ten? Considering it was the first training match and that Scotland were poor I would think Galthie would award 8 out of 10.
Chat's throwing needs to improve, as does Lopez kicking at goal. They also should have scored at least another couple of tries. But a promising start.
Can they back it up with a win at Murrayfield against a stronger Scottish team?

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Post by sensisball on Sun Aug 18, 2019 12:08 pm

France squad update
Vakatawa to replace the injured Douymaru in the French squad. Versalite back who was a 7s star before playing on the wing, with little effect, before signing with Racing 92 and converting into a dangerous outside centre. Fantastic in attack his defence is sometimes a bit suspect!

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Post by ebop on Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:04 pm

Something positive for France is that none of their screwball referees will be anywhere near their games
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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:09 pm

ebop wrote:Something positive for France is that none of their screwball referees will be anywhere near their games

Im sure they will be happier if they don't have to face SH homers like Joubert. SH's go to ref for a bail out.

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Post by ebop on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:20 pm

Joubert was a very good referee that had the odd hiccup. But the current crop of dodgy French referees that WR seems so enamoured with is a recipe for disaster for everyone except the French. You know it’s true Guns. It’s a game of roulette with them whacky French guys in charge.
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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:24 pm

ebop wrote:Joubert was a very good referee that had the odd hiccup. But the current crop of dodgy French referees that WR seems so enamoured with is a recipe for disaster for everyone except the French. You know it’s true Guns. It’s a game of roulette with them whacky French guys in charge.

Not really, the French refs are just finally applying the same rules to the ABs that every other team has had to be held to since the dawn of professionalism. Its great to see, albeit I'm unsure how a French lock can get a six week ban and miss the RWC and yet Barrett gets 3 weeks and does not miss the RWC for something similar. Presumably still work to do to make sure there is equal treatment for all sides.

NZ's discipline was always going to catch up with them. Maybe Clare McNamara was right afterall? Maybe the penny still hasn't dropped for Hansen?

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11752121

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Post by ebop on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:29 pm

Well, hopefully Ireland get given ‘all’ the French referee appointments then given you’re so happy with them
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Post by Collapse2005 on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:32 pm

ebop wrote:Well, hopefully Ireland get given ‘all’ the French referee appointments then given you’re so happy with them

I would be delighted to have a French ref for all our games. In my view they are better than most. Id like to avoid Owens and Barnes ideally even if Barnes did ref our recent win over NZ.

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Post by LondonTiger on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:35 pm

Collapse2005 wrote:
ebop wrote:Something positive for France is that none of their screwball referees will be anywhere near their games

Im sure they will be happier if they don't have to face SH homers like Joubert. SH's go to ref for a bail out.

France have SH refs for all 4 pool matches.

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Post by ebop on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:41 pm

LondonTiger wrote:
Collapse2005 wrote:
ebop wrote:Something positive for France is that none of their screwball referees will be anywhere near their games

Im sure they will be happier if they don't have to face SH homers like Joubert. SH's go to ref for a bail out.

France have SH refs for all 4 pool matches.
Would be a shame if those SH referees made any horrific blunders that sent France packing
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Post by bsando on Fri Aug 23, 2019 2:41 pm

Liking the look of France. The flow of attack and speed of their defence was a massive improvement from the 6N. I had been quietly optimistic about France in the 6N but they shot themselves in the foot too many times and their structures looked a bit ropey in my opinion. Last week it was a lot slicker and what I had been expecting more of in the 6N.

From the first match of 2019 vs Wales

J Poirot, G Guirado (capt), U Atonio, S Vahaamahina, P Willemse, W Lauret, A Iturria, L Picamoles.
M Parra, C Lopez, Y Huget, R Ntamack, W Fofana, D Penaud, M Medard
Bench: J Marchand, D Priso, D Bamba, F Lambey, G Alldritt, B Serin, G Fickou, G Doumayrou.

vs Tomorrow's starting XXIII

Jefferson Poirot (Captain), Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani, Félix Lambey, Sébastien Vahaamahina, Arthur Iturria, Charles Ollivon, Grégory Alldritt
Antoine Dupont, Camille Lopez, Alivereti Raka, Wesley Fofana, Gaël Fickou, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos
Bench: Camille Chat, Cyril Baille, Emerick Setiano, Romain Taofifénua, Yacouba Camara, Baptiste Serin, Romain Ntamack, Maxime Médard

The side has progressed quite nicely and some new faces are now commanding their given position. Pernaud has had some sensational moments this year, Dupont has overtaken Para and Serin, Alldritt starting again at 8 looks like he has a lot of explosive energy to unleash. France have quietly been going about their business in their own way, developing a strong side. I'd probably have them down as my dark horse for the RWC.

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Post by sensisball on Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:32 am

Fofana out for todays game with a leg issue. Guitoune gets his first start, presumably at 13 with Fickou moving in one place.
He has enjoyed an amazing season with Toulouse will be interesting to see if he can translate that form into international quality.

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Post by maestegmafia on Wed Aug 28, 2019 7:20 am

France: 15 Maxime Medard, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Jefferson Poirot (c)
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Francois Cros, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Virimi Vakatawa, 23 Thomas Ramos

Date: Friday, August 30
Venue: Stade de France
Kick-off: 21:10 local (20:10 BST, 19:10 GMT)

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Post by Sharkey06 on Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:14 pm

I was at Murrayfield on Saturday to watch the return match against Scotland.  Lambey looks massively lightweight for a second row and was being knocked back every time he tried to carry the ball.  He didn't seem to offer much in the line out either as Ollivon seemed to be the main jumper on offence and defense.  Vahaamahina has the size, but seems to offer very little.  Is Iturria a converted winger, because he spent probably 90% of the game outside the no 11?  I thought Ramos had a very poor day at 15.  Plus points were Guitoune and Penaud - who continues to impress every time I watch him.

Altogether though, a very disappointing performance and not one which would give me much hope as a France fan.  As ever, it seems the French coach is unable/unwilling to select the best players available to him; to play players who are selected in their correct position; come up with any kind of consistent game plan.

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Post by maestegmafia on Thu Aug 29, 2019 2:06 pm

Sharkey06 wrote:I was at Murrayfield on Saturday to watch the return match against Scotland.  Lambey looks massively lightweight for a second row and was being knocked back every time he tried to carry the ball.  He didn't seem to offer much in the line out either as Ollivon seemed to be the main jumper on offence and defense.  Vahaamahina has the size, but seems to offer very little.  Is Iturria a converted winger, because he spent probably 90% of the game outside the no 11?  I thought Ramos had a very poor day at 15.  Plus points were Guitoune and Penaud - who continues to impress every time I watch him.

Altogether though, a very disappointing performance and not one which would give me much hope as a France fan.  As ever, it seems the French coach is unable/unwilling to select the best players available to him; to play players who are selected in their correct position; come up with any kind of consistent game plan.

Next match they have picked a very exciting back line.

France:
15 Maxime Medard, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Sofiane Guitoune, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Gael Fickou, 10 Romain Ntamack, 9 Antoine Dupont, 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Yacouba Camara, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Romain Taofifenua, 4 Arthur Iturria, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Camille Chat, 1 Jefferson Poirot (c)
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Cyril Baille, 18 Emerick Setiano, 19 Felix Lambey, 20 Francois Cros, 21 Baptiste Serin, 22 Virimi Vakatawa, 23 Thomas Ramos

Italy:
15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Michele Campagnaro, 12 Luca Morisi, 11 Matteo Minozzi, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Sergio Parisse (c), 7 Jake Polledri, 6 Abraham Steyn, 5 Federico Ruzza, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Marco Riccioni, 2 Luca Bigi, 1 Simone Ferrari
Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Andrea Lovotti, 18 Tiziano Pasquali, 19 Dean Budd, 20 Sebastian Negri, 21 Guglielmo Palazzani, 22 Carlo Canna, 23 Tommaso Benvenuti

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Post by sensisball on Fri Aug 30, 2019 5:05 pm

[quote="Sharkey06"]I was at Murrayfield on Saturday to watch the return match against Scotland.  Lambey looks massively lightweight for a second row and was being knocked back every time he tried to carry the ball.  He didn't seem to offer much in the line out either as Ollivon seemed to be the main jumper on offence and defense.

I agree that Lambey looks underpowered. Think he weighs less than110 kg, which is pretty petit for lock these days. Interesting that Iturria is being played at 5 because of injury to Vahaamahina and the suspensions of Le Roux and Gabrillagues. He is also light (<110 kg), hence the move to back row. He hasnt started a game in the second row for Clermont for over a season.

I have never understood why Paul Jedrasiak wasnt looked at for this tournament.He came back after a serious knee injury and had a pretty good tail end to last season, scoring 4 our 5 tries for Clermont. He is good in the loose with a decent turn of pace and weighs in around 115 kg, and is a better ball carrier than Lambey.

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:22 am

Nice result over Italy tonight. Well done France. Starting to look better and better. Could they be an outside bet?

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:42 am

France rounded off their Rugby World Cup warm-up fixtures with a comprehensive 47-19 victory over Italy at the Stade de France on Friday.

Les Bleus crossed seven times, which includes a penalty try, as Yoann Huget, Camille Chat, Antoine Dupont, Arthur Iturria, Wenceslas Lauret and Thomas Ramos scored. Fly-half Romain Ntamack also impressed with his goal-kicking, landing five conversions from six attempts in Paris.


https://www.planetrugby.com/france-run-out-comfortable-winners-over-italy/

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Post by sensisball on Sat Aug 31, 2019 1:19 pm

After a lively and often bizarrely referred game France scored a barrel load of tries against a military medium Italian team. What have we seen from this game which might influence final selection of the 31?

Iturria put in a good shift at 5 for 60 minutes. With Gabrillagues and Le Roux both suspended for the first couple of matches he may start alongside his club colleague, Vahaamahina, against a not very imposing Argentinian scrum. His lineout work was good; he tackled well and cleared rucks effectively. Also lurked well on the wing for his try!

Chat had a good day at the office, his lineout throwing was generally spot on and he finished a driven lineout with a good try. Must be close to displacing Guirado as first choice?

In the back row Picamoles lasted the pace and looked after the ball well in contact whilst displaying a higher than normal work rate. King Louis should have booked his place, if it wasn’t already assured.

Camara also was prominent. Main lineout jumper alongside Itturai and looked for work all game. He was quick off the defensive line and played an important role in the press defence that shut Italy down.

In contrast Lauret was very quiet and I would take the quicker and more versatile Francois Cros instead of the Racing man on the basis of his form last season and in the first game in Nice.

Du Pont was his usual prominent self and has cemented himself as first choice 9 in the squad.  Serin sniped nicely down the blindside but I still think his passing in a bit laboured. He may end up third choice 9 behind the more combative Marchenaud.

Ntamack gave his most assured display in the 10 shirt for France.  I dont think he did enough to displace Lopez but he didnt have the same error count that he showed at Murrayfield. A nice crossfield kick to Huget was a highlight. His distribution was sound, whilst he also kicked well at goal.

In the centres Fofana provided the glue in attack and is surely the first choice 12. Guitoune was good in attack and defence although he almost butchered a three on one chance by not passing. His pace causes problems for defenders and his ability to play wing, with 5 French caps under his belt, will surely count in his favour come selection. Fortunately for him France recycled the ball to find Iturria out wide for the 5 points.

Fickou looked ok on one wing and Huget was at his Gallic best: beating players with pace and guile and then milking a penalty try for “being held back” by a defender. The total sum of this obstruction was for the defender to touch him briefly with one hand on the hip.  However the throwing up of Huget’s arms and the tears welling up in his eyes was enough for the ref to yellow card the Italian and award the penalty try!

Subs: Lambey looked good again coming off the bench. As he showed last week he is not the player you want to make hard yards in heavy traffic but should go as the second choice 5 because of his two performances off the bench.
Vakawata came on with 20 to go against a tiring defence and made ground every time he carried. The fact he is comfortable on the wing, as well as 13, and has a few caps already may swing selection in his favour ahead of Raka, who looked nervous, on the ball at Murrayfield and made several errors, many of them unforced.

I have had a stab at the final squad below. Two reserve players Rattez and Belleau saw no game time and so we can assume will not travel. Bamba hasn’t played due to injury but is the third tight-head in the 37 so assume he will travel. Le Roux and Gabrillagues are both suspended for the first few group games but haven’t been dropped from the squad so I think they will both travel.

Loose Heads: D Priso (La Rochelle), J Poirot (Bordeax-Begles),
Hookers: C Chat (Racing 92), G Guirado (Toulon), P Mauvaka (Toulouse),
Tight Heads: R Slimani (Clermont Auvergne), D Bamba (Brive), E Setiano (Toulon),
Second Rows: P Gabrillagues (Stade Francais), B Le Roux (Racing 92), F Lambey (Lyon),
S Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne).
No 8: L Picamoles (Montpellier), G Alldritt (La Rochelle),
Flankers: Y Camara (Montpellier), A Uturria (Clermont Auvergne), C Ollivon (Toulon), F Cros (Toulouse),
Scum Half: A Dupont (Toulouse), M Machenaud (Racing 92), B Serin (Bordeaux-Begles),
Stand-off: C Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), R Ntamack (Toulouse),
Centre: W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), G Fickou (Stade Francais), S Guitoune (Toulouse), V Vakatawa(Racing 92),
Wing: Y Huget (Toulouse), D Penaud (Clermont Auvergne),
Full-Back: M Medard (Toulouse), T Ramos (Toulouse),

Close Calls: Cros ahead of Lauret.  The Racing man’s experience may just nudge him ahead of the exciting and more versatile Toulouse youngster.

Vakawata ahead of Raka: The management might hope that Raka’s club form can materialise in japan and take him instead the more experienced and versatile Vakatawa.

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Post by whocares on Sun Sep 01, 2019 5:14 am

I sometime hope that « moustache » drops most of the old guard including Guirado and Picamoles who despite trying hard are a big losers (sorry don’t know how else to express this but someone like Guirado has been captaining a losing team for so long ) and are holding the team back. I would also get rid of Lauret, Le Roux and Vahaamahina for poor handling skills and/or inability to play at pace but fear they really need at least the guy from Clermont. Also think that best fly halves were playing yesterday night in Bordeaux (specially Jalibert who was on fire) but maybe a bit green for Japan.
The score against Italy was deceiving and flattering for France: Italy was rubbish and France just had to play a few minutes of rugby to score. Their discipline and cohesion was crap and nothing to be proud of. France shall get knocked out at the pool stage and Galthié should do the right thing and get rid of the old guard while selecting players that can manage high tempo rugby.

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Post by sensisball on Sun Sep 01, 2019 8:23 am

I agree that this will surely be Guirados last tournament for Les Blues. Unfortunately Marchant's injury meant he wasn't fit for selection, otherwise he would have been able to push for starting hooker.
Picamoles is also surely at the end of his career and Alldrit is pushing hard for the start. It's not all bad news as there are talented youngsters in the squad. I am sure the result of the first game will be vital: beat Argentina and a quarter final is likely. Lose and they will not get out of their group.

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Post by sensisball on Tue Sep 03, 2019 1:25 pm

FRANCE - THE FINAL 31

Some interesting calls in the French final 31. Cyril Baille has shown enough to displace Danny Priso as the second loose head. A less dynamic ball carrier but probably a better scrummager than the La Rochelle man.
Lambey doesn’t travel, Iturria goes as the fourth lock in his place. He did enough on Saturday, playing at 5, to convinve the coaches that Lambey was a luxury they didn't need. This decision also freed up another space for a back.

In the backs the coaches keep faith with Raka, despite a less than convincing outing at Murrayfield. Vakatawa is picked as a centre despite only came into the squad a couple of weeks ago. He showed real power from the bench against Italy and his ability to play wing must have also counted in his favour.

Otherwise, pretty much as expected.


Loose Heads: J Poirot (Bordeax-Begles), C Baille (Touluse)

Hookers: C Chat (Racing 92), G Guirado (Toulon), P Mauvaka (Toulouse),

Tight Heads: R Slimani (Clermont Auvergne), D Bamba (Brive), E Setiano (Toulon),

Second Rows: P Gabrillagues (Stade Francais), B Le Roux (Racing 92), A Iturria (Clermont Auvergne), S Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne).

No 8: L Picamoles (Montpellier), G Alldritt (La Rochelle)

Flankers: Y Camara (Montpellier), C Ollivon (Toulon), W Lauret (racing 92),

Scum Half: A Dupont (Toulouse), M Machenaud (Racing 92), B Serin (Bordeaux-Begles),

Stand-off: C Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), R Ntamack (Toulouse),

Centre: W Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), G Fickou (Stade Francais), S Guitoune (Toulouse), V Vakatawa(Racing 92),

Wing: Y Huget (Toulouse), D Penaud (Clermont Auvergne), A Raka (Clermont)

Full-Back: M Medard (Toulouse), T Ramos (Toulouse),

This means Iturria will start alongside his club colleague, Vahaamahina, in the second row for the Argentina match as the other two locks are suspended for the first two group games. I assume Ollivon as the heaviest back rower will need to act as second row bench cover. Which in turn means Lauret and Camara will be the starting flankers with Alldrit and Picamoles covering 8 and the bench. A mobile and skilful back five that will be able to exert a lot of pressure on Argenina’s lineout. Will it have enough scum power to get the upper hand? Will they come through the first match unscathed to be available for france’s second game? Quite a gamble to only have two locks available for these first two games. However, there is a 10 day gap to the second game against the USA.

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Post by whocares on Tue Sep 03, 2019 6:11 pm

Selecting Le Roux above the ginger one is frankly revolting. Might as well pick only 30 players. Also Cros would have been more useful than Picamoles if France really wants to put more continuity and skills in their game plan. Seems like a missed opportunity to prepare for 2023...

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Post by bsando on Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:57 pm

I'm surprised to see Lambey missing out, he isn't a big abrasive lock but he gets the ball out to the backs nicely, a good offloading game. Think that is something that suits the current French side.

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Post by sensisball on Wed Sep 04, 2019 8:37 pm

He looks good when the game has opened up a bit. However he showed at Murrayfield and in the Top 14 semifinal that he struggles to make yards off slow ball. He is good for the last 25 minutes, but if you need him earlier in a game then Iturria is a better bet. Similar build but seems better able to keep going forward off slow ball. Plus he is a more versatile lineout operator with a quicker turn of pace than Lambey having played 7 for the majority of the 6 Ns. The gamble is not taking Iturria instead of Lambey but only have two locks available for the first two rounds.

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Post by whocares on Wed Sep 04, 2019 10:13 pm

My issue is not with Iturria who has proven his worth but with Le Roux who has proven that he adds nothing over the years. This WC should be about preparing 2023.

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Post by maestegmafia on Fri Sep 06, 2019 6:58 pm

Was that the last warm up match for France?

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Post by whocares on Fri Sep 06, 2019 9:17 pm

Yes they are flying to Japan tomorrow

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Post by maestegmafia on Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:28 am

A bien tôt, Bon chance

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