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Mid-term test match for Galthié and the Blues against Argentina

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The Blues will face Argentina on Saturday at the Stade de France for the first match of the autumn tour.

Halfway between the seizure of power by Fabien Galthié and the opening match of the 2023 World Cup, the reception on Saturday 6 November from Argentina, an old cousin source of misery in the past, looks like a dress rehearsal for the XV of France.

No more revisions, erasures and drafts: after 18 matches, including six defeats, the coach of the Blues and his troops will pass a test, their first at home, against a nation of the Southern Hemisphere after a promising tour of Australia failing to be completely convincing in terms of results (two defeats, one victory).

>> To read on France24.com: “Rugby: beaten by Scotland, the Blues end the Tournament on a disappointment”

But this time, the “real” France team is back: between an end of the Six Nations Tournament disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, then a summer tour without most of the executives, Fabien Galthié had no longer aligned what was happening. has been bringing together a typical team for nearly nine months.

And if the coach welcomes the “emulation” of his group, he was especially able to take advantage of absences (Virimi Vakatawa and Arthur Vincent injured, Teddy Thomas insufficiently recovered …) to change his game plan and make strong choices: the usual holder at the opening Romain Ntamack will slide in the center to make way for Matthieu Jalibert.

Start the tour

“These two players, for two years, have been among the best in our championship. Let us try to put the best players on the field, even if it is true that injuries have freed up options”, explains Galthié.

“There are always changes. Even if we have a concern for consistency, collective experience, vision, over the eighteen games played, there has been consistency,” he explains.

The thirty-year-old Bernard Le Roux and Brice Dulin, rare players with more than 30 selections, were returned to their clubs and the French staff decided to count on sure values, such as the pillar Mohamed Haouas and the winger Gabin Villière, to barely recovered from injuries, as well as the new captain Antoine Dupont, the hooker Julien Marchand or the defense captain Gaël Fickou.

The Australian summer hits, Anthony Jelonch, Cameron Woki and Melvyn Jaminet have gained ground, the Perpignan back even doubling Ntamack and Jalibert in the role of scorer.

The other novelty comes from Toulousain Thibaud Flament, second row with an atypical course, which will, him, honor his first cape.

Pumas without certainties

He will find some familiar faces since the Pumas, who remain on six setbacks, will align eight “French” of the Top 14 at kick-off, including the third row of Toulon Facunda Isa, that of the French Stadium Marcos Kremer and the center of Perpignan Jeronimo de la Fuente.

The last time the French and Argentines faced each other, the Blues had to wait for the last ten minutes, a drop from Camille Lopez (70e) and a missed penalty by Emiliano Boffelli (80e) to get out of the mouth of the Pumas (23-21), at the opening of the 2019 World Cup.

>> To read also: “Women’s Six Nations Tournament: the Blues crush Wales”

The XV of France, with Galthié in the role of “the assistant like the others”, had then chained a third success in a row against Argentina. Since the first test match of the XXIe century, in June 2002, the Pumas won 10 of 18 oppositions.

The last French victory against the South Americans at the Stade de France dates back to November 25, 2006 and a narrow success (27-26) for the men of Bernard Laporte, then coach, and Raphaël Ibanez, then captain.

Almost two years after their last match with the public in the Lyon enclosure, Fabien Galthié’s Blues have an interest in taking up the challenge.

With AFP

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