IThe staff of the XV of France can store their candles. During the Top 14 final, won by the wire by the Stade Toulouse of Romain Ntamack, Saturday June 17 at the Stade de France (29-26), the French management did not have to take bad news. While the duel between the Rouge et Noir and Stade La Rochelais delivered the merciless fight expected, it was not punctuated by injuries to one of the many French internationals – nine at kick-off – who played in the match. A good omen two weeks before the start of the preparation for the World Cup on French soil (from September 8 to October 28).
“We are watching the end of the season carefully”stated the coach of the tricolor attack, Laurent Labit, in mid-May, during the gathering of the French staff in Montgesty (Lot). “We worked a lot on the methodology, on the content, on everything we were going to do, in the preparation, etc., but for the moment, we can only pray. »
In the sport of confrontation that is rugby, it is impossible to predict with certainty that its players will emerge unscathed from high-intensity encounters; the Bordeaux pillar of the Blues, Sipili Falatea, absent for six to eight weeks after injuring his knee in the semi-finals of the Top 14, came to call him back a week ago. “As soon as there is one on the ground, it is very hard in front of the television”conceded Laurent Labit.
On land, the Rochelais were after the siren on Saturday, and the stab – magnificent – inflicted by Romain Ntamack in the dying minutes, a solo try allowing the Toulouse to go back to the lead. And to win the twenty-second title in their history, where La Rochelle is running after its first Brennus shield. “This kid has a character! Him, he may be able to make us become world champions ”greeted his trainer, Ugo Mola, dithyrambic, at the microphone of Canal +.
A title each, but Rochelais regrets to tame
Since Fabien Galthié and his team at the helm of the XV of France took office in 2019, the World Cup in France in the fall of 2023 has been the stated objective. In less than three months, Romain Ntamack and his partners will be back on the lawn of the Stade de France, to open the ball for the World Cup against the New Zealand All Blacks.
But the players had one last dance with their respective clubs, before waiting for the list of forty-two selected for the first part of the preparation for the World Cup (unveiled on Wednesday June 21). ” We [les clubs] gave a lotfor the XV of France, insisted Ugo Mola on Friday. We will take care of us until 11 p.m. and then wish good luck to our selected ones. »
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