Mission accomplished: despite a new unfinished performance against Tonga (23-21) on Sunday (October 6th) in Kumamoto (Japan), the XV of France qualified for the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup before his last match of hen.
Lack of consistency
As against the Pumas and the Eagles, the XV of France has once again missed Sunday of consistency, despite a team of two-thirds of holders, and while he passed a test in the matter of the confession of his captain for a day, Jefferson Poirot.
Consistently, these Blues, still recovering and learning, have demonstrated during these three group matches. To start foot to the floor, but for, also, then to know a hole of air.
In Kumamoto, faced with Tongans as promised rough in the frontal challenge, they have started perfectly, leading 10 to 0 from the 6th minute, after a penalty of Romain Ntamack (3rd) and a test of Virimi Vakatawa. Splendid, with several effective relays, in the right tempo, and a breakthrough by Alivereti Raka.
Rugby: The Blues bring a victory at the feet of clay
And then, as against the Americans, the game tricolor frayed after a quarter of an hour, and during the same period of time. From the front (17, 19, 25, 27, 29), a touchdown pass from Vakatawa (17), two conceded penalties (19, 24), a direct kick to the touch of Maxime Médard (26) … Almost all the panoply has passed.
The Blues came out of this air hole by a test of Raka (32nd), more legs and safer hands than last Wednesday, a benefit annihilated by the Tongan test, signed Sonatane Takulua just before half-time ( 17-7).
An attempt born of a penalty conceded in closed scrum, the big black spot of the evening with the number of balloons lost (22). They have been sanctioned three times, more than one free kick, having already suffered in this sector against the Argentines, and the United States before the entry of the bench.
Discipline and In-Front
On the other hand, they managed to solve their problem of indiscipline, since they were four times less penalized (6) than in the first two matches together (25).
They were also able to show coolness and authority to resume, with two penalties Ntamack (52nd and 59th), a lead to score (23-14) after a test cap (Medard deceived by the rebound, 48th) .
Rugby World Cup, a shy brightening for the XV of France
Offensively, they were credited with some beautiful movements, unfortunately too often spoiled by foregrounds. Which led to the cancellation of two tries (46th and 69th), which would have given them a bigger lead before the last Tongan test (Kapeli, 79th).
Three tries conceded all the same: they will have to adjust the target, as in other sectors, before facing opponents of another caliber.
Fixed minimum target reached
Assured, with 13 points, to finish in front of the Pumas (6 pts), they will approach the "Crunch" with only pressure to finish first, in front of England (15 pts). And, above all, to prepare their best quarter-final, October 19 or 20 in Oita (south), most likely against Wales or Australia.
The minimum target set is therefore reached with this third win in three games, after those won against Argentina (23-21) and the United States (33-9). It seemed far from obvious at the end of the Six Nations Tournament, worrying.
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