This France-South Africa had the beauty of the devil

This France-South Africa had the beauty of the devil

Intense, relentless and more violent than any other, this France-South Africa had the beauty of the devil and leads us to believe, today, that the Tricolores are equipped to survive all types of games that are opposed to them. …

The weight of words. Culture shock. And on this solid wooden desk which was used on Saturday evening by the Blues and the Boks to unravel, outside the brazier of the Vélodrome, the improbable entanglement of this match, these are two worlds which have once again collided. There was first, at the microphone, Siya Kolisi and Jacques Nienaber, who is to Rassie Erasmus what Medvedev was to Putin. The South African captain, taken aback by questions from the French media, said in his child’s voice: ” Violent ? It was not violent. It was physical, that’s all. In Marseile, two athletic teams gave everything to win the match and that’s what you need to remember. There was no particular danger: on the ground, we are all surrounded by healers and doctors who protect us. » To his left, Nienaber, funny Yul Brynner with a Boer accent, imperceptibly shrugged his shoulders and unsheathed an unfathomable smile, as if the gigantomachy we had just witnessed was just the natural extension of a war of which this France- Africa was one battle among others. Here, the body language of the two men reminded us of the daily brutality of the country with the highest crime rate on the planet and, above all, of what the great François Pienaar had told us three weeks earlier about culture. South African : “Every week, neo-rurals arrive in the bush to take over farms. After a month, they go back to town. The Veldt is unforgiving. He has always forged the characters of our best forwards. On the pitch, we are not afraid of dirty work because we have only known that in the end. »

In the depths of the Vélodrome, then came the turn of Fabien Galthié, whose sobriety was surprising, after a victory for his team against the world champions. Had the coach finally understood that his lads had just won a game they hadn’t mastered? Did he tell himself, too, that the courage displayed by his soldiers offered them a very deceptive status as “favorites” of the World Cup and that despite the outcome of this meeting, it would be necessary to be a hundred times stronger to snatch, in less than a year, the belt still worn by the Springboks? A little haggard, a little stunned, Galthié then went where his predecessors at the desk had refused to go: “In Marseille, we entered a zone of harshness, intensity, violence. As long as we had not been confronted with it, we could not know… It is the first time that we have played a team which imposes such intensity on us in collisions, confrontation. » And this one was beautiful to die for, for anyone who loves rugby for what it is by definition, the collective combat sport par excellence, the guilty pleasure of a few million “happy few”, a delight at the end gourmet not having a vocation for the universalism that the carpet merchants nevertheless call for, wishing to make it a farandole, an obscene circus smelling of chlorine. “This Marseille match is not good publicity for the next World Cup”slipped us for example on Saturday evening a comb-ass for which rugby took its omnipotence in Super Rugby, in matches with 70 points and twelve tests played in front of 8000 paying spectators, good mother…

The ultimate degree of international rugby

That being said, did we also sometimes have to look away, in Marseille? Was it sometimes difficult to support the images of a match which had, at times, the beauty of the devil? Probably yes. But the moment Pieter-Steph du Toit thrust his horse’s head into Jonathan Danty’s face, the minute we had to contain with a brave strip of elastoplast the inguinal hernia that was coming out of Cyril’s body Yawns when seeing, amazed, Thibaud Flament patiently waiting for his turn on the sidelines because the medics were already monopolized by the “concussion protocols” specific to Uini Atonio and Bongi Mbonambi, we simply remembered that thirteen years earlier, over of the last victory of the Habs against South Africa, the success of the Stadium had that evening been acquired only through a similar outburst from Lionel Nallet, William Servat or Fabien Bacella, brave fight that Imanol Harinordoquy recently evoked in these terms: “Bloody face, Bakkies Botha gave us kisses before returning to the field…”

At the end of the day, and all stylistic considerations aside, we will simply remember from this match that after three years of a rich but so far sweet and cozy history, the Galthié gang discovered the ultimate level of rugby on Saturday evening. international, came out of it bigger and proved that it had within it the power to respond to all game plans, frontal as the Irish or the Springboks like it, disjointed and destabilizing as the Pumas play, rhythmic as the practice the All Blacks, the Wallabies or the Japanese. “French fans can be proud to have such a team on their side, said Siya Kolisi. Today, the Blues know who they are. They have a game plan and stick to it, regardless of the opponent.”. This “game plan”made of dispossession, aggressiveness in the duels and a monstrous pair of c.. is also extended by this numerical data and that Laurent Labit, the leader of the tricolor attack, recently delivered to the educators of French rugby during a Masterclass in Marcoussis: “We realized last year that all the best teams in the circuit, New Zealand, Ireland and South Africa, had offensive circuits that did not exceed three rucks and 20 seconds. Beyond this window, we lose the ball in 80% of cases and we expose ourselves to a counter-assassin. Those 20 seconds have since become a major performance indicator for us.”. And who was put to the test, Saturday evening, by the physical hardness of the Springboks, authors of 10 “turnovers” at the Velodrome. “Our room for improvement is still enormous, also synthesized Fabien Galthié on Saturday evening. In this sense, we must never forget what happened in Marseille, keep it in mind so as not to be surprised when the World Cup starts.. On this subject, and while one of the projections gives a possible France / South Africa in the quarter-finals of the World Cup, we will simply issue this reservation: with which survivors will Fabien Galthié play a hypothetical semi-final, if the XV of France crosses the road of the South African titans eight days earlier?

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