Rugby. The XV of France wants to end the year in style against Japan

Rugby.  The XV of France wants to end the year in style against Japan



After having tamed the Wallabies (30-29) and the Springboks (30-26), the XV of France ends its November trilogy against Japan. Admittedly, this is a less prestigious opponent than the two previous ones, against whom the Blues have never lost (5 wins, 1 draw).

But Fabien Galthié does not want his players to take this match lightly. He rather wants them to consider it a “final” after a quarter won against Australia and a half won against South Africa with the aim of preparing for the final phase of the World Cup in ten months.

A victory over Japan would also allow the Blues to win a 13e success in a row and thus end the calendar year undefeated, which has never happened in the modern history of the XV of France.


Since the last World Cup held in Japan, the “Brave Blossoms” have not hung a single big car from the oval planet on their list. They remain on a crack last Saturday in England (13-52).

They announced that they wanted to raise their heads against the XV of France which, let us remember, had suffered a thousand miseries to beat them (20-15) in July in Tokyo. Charles Ollivon was already the captain of the Blues, but he missed many of the team’s executives during this match.



Winners of their last three matches in the “money-time” thanks to life-saving tries from Couilloud (Japan), Penaud (Australia) and Falatea (South Africa), the XV of France hopes to be able to afford an easier and do not tremble until the last minutes.

“This third match against Japan must be the most successful,” said Fabien Galthié. But his players will have to adapt to the rainy weather announced this Sunday afternoon in Toulouse. “We have players capable of adapting to a slippery ball or to dry ground, so that opens up possibilities, said captain Charles Ollivon on Saturday at a press conference. We have a strategy capable of opening or closing depending on the scenario of the match. Honestly, we will lay our foundations in the game and then we will see according to the conditions…”

The composition of France


Japan will first try to compete in the conquest phases and not suffer too much in collisions in order to prevent the XV of France from advancing and imposing their game. As in the two matches of the last summer, the Japanese will probably try to keep the ball alive and play all the shots.

Their salvation depends on rhythm and speed. But they will also have to take into account the playing conditions. It must be recognized that rainy weather would not benefit them…


Maxime Lucu (France)

Lining of Antoine Dupont, Maxime Lucu will know his 11e selection this Sunday. He takes advantage of the suspension of the Toulouse scrum-half to know his 3e tenure, with the particularity of having only known them against Japan, since he had already started the two matches in Tokyo during the summer tour.

Discreet in the group, but effective in the game when he returns to the image of his great performance against the Springboks, the finisher from Bordeaux wants to show that he can also be an excellent starter. Ideal complement to Dupont, it evolves in a different register. But this good manager has the opportunity to prove that he too can be a good leader.

Kotaro Matsushima (Japan)

After two lackluster seasons spent in Clermont (45 matches, 11 tries), Kotaro Matsushima found Japanese club Tokyo Sungoliath last summer, where he was already playing before his stay in France. The former ASM fullback, who had started on the right wing in his team’s two lost matches against New Zealand (38-31) and England (52-13), was relegated to the bench of substitutes to face France.

“We want a little more physical density, explained coach Jamie Joseph. Kotaro is an offensive weapon that will make the difference later, when spaces become available. »


France: 3

The number of players from the XV of France present at the Defense Arena in Nanterre, on November 25, 2017, during the draw (23-23) conceded against Japan which led to the departure of Guy Novès. This is the 2e line Romain Taofifenua, from 3e line Sekou Macalou and winger Damian Penaud who had played in the center that day.

Japan: 12

The low number of matches played by the Japanese since the 2019 World Cup played on their island. The Covid has prevented them, in fact, from following a normal program for three years. Of the twelve meetings, they have won only three, against Portugal (38-25) and twice against Uruguay (34-15, 43-17).


France : Charles Ollivon (captain)

“Like a final”

“We approached this tour as the final phase of a global competition. In our head, it’s as if we had chained quarter, half and final. We are all very proud of our two victories against Australia (30-29) and South Africa (30-26). We want to continue to progress, and we therefore prepared this last match as a final. The motivation is all there! »

Japan: Jamie Joseph (coach)

Finding the right balance will be key in this game »

“France have a very experienced back line who tend to play a lot of the game in their own half, giving the opposition a lot of balls. So we have to make sure that when we receive that ball, we make good decisions to counter or return to kicking. We have worked hard to seize the opportunities that will arise by keeping the ball in hand and tapping our feet when we feel we are under pressure. Finding the right balance will be key in this game. »

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