Ophélie Artaud / Photo credit: CLEMENT MAHOUDEAU / AFP 09:03 a.m., October 29, 2023, modified at 09:07 a.m., October 29, 2023The day after the victory of the Springboks in the final of the Rugby World Cup, the former president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and former Minister of Sports, Bernard Laporte, delivered to the microphone of Europe 1 his assessment of this World Cup, organized in France.
A fourth world title for the Sprinboks. On Saturday night, South Africa defeated New Zealand 12-11 in the Rugby World Cup final to become the most successful nation. A beautiful 2023 edition, which ends in France, and on which Bernard Laporte returned to the microphone of Europe 1. Success of the Springboks, defeat of France in the quarter-finals, future of the Blues... The former president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) and former Minister of Sport gives his assessment of this World Cup.
If the final was not marked by great flights of fancy and may have disappointed some rugby fans, Bernard Laporte found it "fascinating. There was a lot of suspense, a lot of commitment, a lot of technicality in terms of the game... For enthusiasts, it's sure to be fun."
France "has returned to the level of the great nations"
It was also a way for French fans to console themselves after Les Bleus' quarter-final defeat to the South Africans. "There's disappointment and that's logical. For four years, this team from France has been doing a considerable amount of work. Since 2019, she has beaten South Africa, she has beaten the All Blacks twice and other major nations, she has made a Grand Slam" in 2022. For Bernard Laporte, France "has returned to the level of these great nations", even if on this World Cup, "it was not enough".
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Since their defeat, the former president of the FFR has had the opportunity to exchange with the players of the XV of France, and with their coach Fabien Galthié. "I saw them the day after they were eliminated. There was a lot of disappointment. They were very critical of the refereeing, but I told them 'you can't criticise the referee when you concede four tries, when you don't do the right thing ten metres from the line, when you miss opportunities to score... We talked a lot and we were disappointed, but I do not forget that they have brought this France team back to the level of the best nations in the world. But something was missing to be able to lift this cup," he told Europe 1 radio.
With young French players, "the potential is there"
For the former Minister of Sports, "to win a World Cup, you have to take players of very high international level and today, we don't have them yet. We've made a lot of progress but we still don't have that multitude of very high-level players that make us capable of winning a quarter, a semi-final, a World Cup final".
But the France team has great potential, says Bernard Laporte. "Don't forget that we have won the Under-20 World Championship title three times, in 2018, 2019 and 2023. So it means that the potential is there, that the clubs are working well and we have to hope that it will be for next time," concludes the former FFR president.