On Sunday, October 15, France’s XV briefly lost to South Africa (29-28) in “its” World Cup quarter-finals, a huge disappointment that did not live up to the hopes that this team had had for four years and Its gold. generation.
During the 2019 World Cup in Japan, against Wales at the same stage (20-19), this setback remained nothing: a small point, a conversion that undoubtedly came back in an illegal way, perhaps deliberately South African The forwards, the unsanctioned Springbok scrum at the end of the game, some conceded goals… But this time, at home, at a World Cup where the Blues are one of the favorites.
Like South Africa’s Jaco Peper’s officiating in Japan, New Zealander Ben O’Keefe’s officiating at the Stade de France was not to the French taste, with captain Antoine Dupont feeling he was “not up to French standards” . question.
Ben O’Keefe “is not alone”, responds coach Fabien Galthié, whose tenure will run until 2028, French Rugby Federation chief Florian Greer said on Monday Grill confirmed his duties. “The TMO (video referee, editor’s note) and surrounding referees have the time to review the images as we do and have the right to participate in arbitration.”
Dupont teammates also mentioned the “mistake” in a rare appearance before the media after the loss, but the pain didn’t outweigh the huge disappointment. For this is certainly not the main explanation for the failure.
Blues’ big mistake
“It’s always easy to talk about referees. There are some pretty obvious situations on the field, but it doesn’t seem obvious to the refereeing body,” center Jonathan Dante also noted, before adding: “Unfortunately, people make mistakes (but) that leads to It’s not the referee who loses the game.”
“We are sad for this result and this cruel situation (…). We had enough conditions, but we dropped points too easily,” concluded third row Francois Cross.
The French XV seemed to lead from the right end until half-time (22-19) after a rare intensity in the first quarter, stunning and gorgeous (six shots, the first in the history of a World Cup quarter) -eventually), which didn’t last long and paid cash for his mistake.
Therefore, we saw serious defensive mistakes, especially “turnovers” and conceding the ball; high-ball bankruptcies; and the unexpected drop in physical fitness in the second half was not made up for by the bench. It was the kind of disparity we didn’t see when the Blues were at their peak in 2022, and it kept the Springboks in touch at the end of their dominant first period.
“They stuck to their plan and had three counterattacks in the first half. There was a lot of pressure and they took advantage of our mistakes and the referee’s whistle to score successfully at the right time,” fly-half Matthieu Jalibert Jalibert) analyzed.
A better South Africa strategy
Another area of guilt: air play. “We clearly saw that they used a lot of high-foot tactics, which allowed them to create highlights,” Galthie admitted.
“The South Africans scored at the bat of the candle. We knew that was where they would test us,” added center Jonathan Dante. They specifically targeted the young and inexperienced Louis Bielle-Biarrey.
Finally, in the ruck zone, an area where the Blues have dominated so far, and with the physicality that forms part of the Boks’ DNA, “they are very active”, reckons full-back Tomas Ramos.
The reigning world champions Springboks were better tactically, bringing on a bench of experienced and talented players (Faf de Klerk, Hande Pollard) early on, and that changed the progress of the game. In this regard, the France side, whose substitutes are crucial at this level, have much less of an impact.
“We can find the explanation we want and it’s over and our adventure is over,” Cross said. “The World Cup in France, we will not experience it again.”