The XV of France won its first success in Cardiff in ten years, Saturday, by beating Wales (27-23), on behalf of the third day of the Six Nations Tournament. The Blues remain in the race for the Grand Slam.
After victories against England (24-17) in the opening match and against Italy (35-22) on the second day, the XV of France continues its great adventure in this 2020 edition of the Tournament of Six Nations. The Blues went to seek, Saturday, February 22, a third consecutive success (27-23) in Cardiff against the Welsh.
Until the match of the other, the only unbeaten team of the Tournament – Ireland, which faces England on Sunday -, the Blues take the lead alone and remain in the race for a Grand Slam.
The last French success in Wales, therefore, dates back to February 26, 2010. Almost ten years to the day. The Blues of Marc Lievremont had won 26-20.
In Cardiff, Saturday, carried by a Roman Ntamack XXL, author of 17 points (one try, two penalties, three conversions), the Blues won the eighteenth French victory in Wales in history.
In 2014 and in 2016, the Blues had started their Tournament with two successes before the Welsh put an end to the blue dreams (27-6 then 19-10). In 2020, the French, therefore, broke the spell. With brio.
A certain defensive solidity
As pragmatic as realistic, the men of Fabien Galthie passed the promised personality test. And demonstrated that it was not a flash in the pan.
In the hell of the Millennium, they confirmed themselves, despite 625 selections of difference between the two starting XVs (859 against 234), the progress glimpsed at the Stade de France, first against the XV de la Rose then against the Squadra Azzurra.
But this time, they added a touch of vista, like the 100% Montpellier trials of Anthony Bouthier (7th), the first in Blue for the back, and Paul Willemse (30th).
Better, they found a certain defensive solidity, in particular by holding out for more than five minutes on their line, while the Welsh pounded the French in-goal. The proof? At halftime, the Blues led 17-9 but, above all, 108 tackles to 51. Enough to give a smile to Shaun Edwards, the French defense coach returning to Wales where he spent eleven years at the shape the Red Devils.
And neither the exits, blow after blow, of their pillar Cyril Baille (41st) on injury than their best player since two matches Gregory Alldritt (40th) on a yellow card, did not seem to thwart these Blues.
Even with thirteen penalties conceded – against only five for the Welsh – the French have imposed themselves. The brand of the greats? Two matches remain, against Scotland on March 8 in Edinburgh and against Ireland on March 14 at Stade de France, to return to the final victory in the Tournament.