Oita (Japan) (AFP)
Relief in the ranks of the XV of France: he can count on two of his main offensive weapons, Damian Penaud and Antoine Dupont, to break the Welsh wall Sunday (9:15 French) in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Oita ( South of Japan).
The (slight) suspense was lifted Friday, with the announcement of the team composition. Dupont (22 years old, 19 sel.), Will lead well behind the scrum the game of the Blues, who will bet on his ability to carry the ball flush with groupings and to support attacking.
They will also hope that Penaud (23 years old, 15 sel.) Makes as much difference in the defense of the Leek XV, one of the most hermetic in the world, than in that of Argentina on September 21st at the opening of the competition ( 23-21).
Both young shoots were uncertain after suffering pain. Dupont, touched on the back for nearly two weeks, has resumed group sessions only Wednesday, while Penaud has been spared since Sunday because of pubic pain.
Toulouse and Clermont are "now 100%", according to coach Jacques Brunel, who has also appointed captain and hooker Guilhem Guirado, replacing Camille Chat in the last two games, against the United States (33-9). October 2) and Tonga (October 23-21 on October 6).
"There was no debate" about Guirado, weakened at the last Six Nations tournament, cut Brunel.
- Lack of rhythm or freshness -
The Gersois also started Bernard Le Roux in second row, the physical density higher than Arthur Iturria, the only change made compared to the starting XV winner of Argentina. The only time Brunel has lined up his team-type, since he could not do it against England (October 12), match canceled due to the passage of typhoon Hagibis on Tokyo and its region.
So two weeks since the Blues have not played. Will they run out of pace? Or on the contrary be cooler than the Welsh, who have played three games in the last two weeks last Sunday?
"It's very difficult to say, we'll only know it on Sunday, we had to redo a program, not playing for two weeks has created excitement, players need to keep up," said Brunel.
"I hope we were able to take advantage of this period to not lose this enthusiasm and gain freshness, certainly," he added.
Dupont and Penaud, symbols of this young French guard in the company of the opener Romain Ntamack (20 years) and N.8 Grégory Alldritt (22 years), probably have to resell to challenge the bête noire of the XV of France. It has indeed lost seven of eight confrontations against it since the sultry semifinal of the 2011 World Cup won a hair (9-8), despite a French numerical superiority for nearly an hour.
- Brunel's intuition -
The XV du Poireau was already trained by Warren Gatland, who has been at the helm since 2008, a record longevity among the best world teams in the professional era.
The New Zealander will leave his post after the World Cup after, he hopes, to have the Welsh head of a first world crown.
They have been stumped for years, Grand Slam players in the 2019 Tournament, and they have the assets for: aggressive and hermetic defense, precision in the footwork and ability to produce the same intensity for 80 minutes to resist the opponent or the opponent. give way.
A consistency in the results and efforts that do not have the Blues, who have accumulated poor performance for several years and systematically lost the thread of their encounters, yet well shipped, since their arrival in Japan.
Will they be able to tie the good cars during an entire match? Brunel clings to his "intuition (which makes him say that there is an energy in this team, a little special"). If she does not deceive, then the XV of France, moribund at the end of the last Tournament, could reach the last square for the seventh time in nine editions. It would still be a hell of a turnaround.
© 2019 AFP