XV of France: the renaissance of French rugby? – SPORTS

Rugby World Cup 2023, organized in France, is approaching. After a great Grand Slam that ended in March 2022, the XV of France is among the favorites of the competition. However, the blues are coming back from afar.

12 years without a trophy

On March 20, 2010, the XV. of France after winning all of his matches, the Six Nations Tournament in his last game against England. It’s the grand slam!

The following year, the French team lost their title to the Italians with a first defeat in their history. At the end of 2011 it’s the World Cup. Through a chain of poor performances and criticism from the press, the Blues painfully reach the finals against the All Blacks, where they are beaten 7-8 in a match riddled with dubious refereeing.

Then begins the era of Philippe Saint-André, the new coach of the French rugby team. He took office on December 1, 2011. The 2012 Six Nations tournament was a failure, with France finishing fourth. It was then the end of an era, many names in French rugby standing aside or no longer being called out: Lionel Beauxis, Julien Pierre, Clément Poitrenaud, Julien Bonnaire, Imanol Harinordoquy, Lionel Nallet, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Aurélien Rougerie, William Servat and Dimitri Yachvili.

The rest becomes complicated for the XV of France and the bad competitions pile up. In January 2016, Guy Novès replaces Philippe Saint-André at the helm of the Blues, who are sacked in December 2017 after poor results despite undeniable progress in the game. Jacques Brunel then accompanies the French team until they qualify as a second-rate team of the world in March 2019.

2020: Renewal and the Galtier era

With his knowledge of modern rugby and a rejuvenated squad, Galtier is clearly bringing new life to the France team.

France performed well during the 2020 Six Nations tournament but unfortunately ended just behind England on points difference.

Six Nations 2021, France also took second place, but a new generation is making an impression. Notably, Dupont ends 2021 as the best player in the world.

In late 2021, the French team beat the All Blacks 40-25 during their fall tour, a record for the Blues. Bodes well for the start of a 2022 Six Nations tournament, with France clinching a still-hot Grand Slam with a heroic final game against England. What a long way!

Romain Taofenua, France international:

I’ve been with the French team for ten years now, We had bad years and it wasn’t easy… We’re still good players, but we could not transcribe it on site. I also think of all the players who went through these difficult times and who didn’t have the chance to develop as they did. »

Why does it work?

This Grand Slam confirmed the good performances of a talented new generation that still shows promise. Let’s remember that the French U20 team were world champions in 2018 and 2019.

In addition, clubs are now playing the game by releasing systematic players for the XV of France in international competitions. Unlike football, the respective club competitions do not stop when the national teams play. Back then, it was difficult for big French cities to let their best players go. But according to Galtier, that’s a thing of the past!

“We feel that French rugby understands the project we want to be part of,” said the French team coach at a recent press conference.

For their part, clubs see this as an opportunity to rotate their workforce and release new nuggets.

“This period has allowed us to bring young players into the game and to see our whole squad at work,” said Stade Toulousain forward coach Virgile Lacombe.

New generation

Finally, the quotas of French-trained players in the top 14 squad compositions have been increased to encourage the rise of new young French players.

The revival of French rugby is also reflected in the clubs. The Challenge Cup final will be 100% French and 3 out of 4 teams were French in the last 4 of the Champion’s Cup.

With a new generation and a vision of the oval ball adapted to modern rugby, the XV of France is preparing to go to Japan in July to prepare for next season, the year of the World Cup in France. When France won their Grand Slam at the Six Nations tournament in 2010, they were in the World Cup final against the All Blacks the following year. Hoping 2023 keeps all its promises for tricolor rugby!

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