TV cameras are also used to capture these little moments that make up the flavor of a rugby match. 36e minute: France dominates Italy in the scrum, egos are touched and a few guys from the forward pack want to show their muscles. Charles Ollivon, the French captain, is jostled by Lorenzo Cannone, 3e Italian center line. His French counterpart, Grégory Alldritt, intervenes and challenges his counterpart: straight in the eyes, he sticks the fingers of his right hand and makes him the Italian sign of “speaking with the hands”, before showing him the display board. At that point, the Blues had already folded the match: 24-0.
A little dig that the La Rochelle player allowed himself, and on which he did not return, during a meeting where he floated. The performance of the French number 8 was impressive in its commitment and intensity. Especially since he hadn’t played since the opening match against New Zealand. Already in good shape this week in training where he beat his maximum speed and reached 30km/h, the trained Gersois guided the Blues throughout the match.
He follows Damian Penaud
It’s simple: offensively, he is the second Frenchman to have covered the most meters with the ball in hand (72), barely less than the whirling Damian Penaud (78) – that’s saying something! -, and also beat three defenders, or as many as a Bielle-Biarrey, on the wing, or a Jalibert, at the opening. Two stats that demonstrate the determining role of 3e line in the advance of the Blues. And what can we say about his defensive activity: 14/14 in tackling, the best French performance of the evening. A ball scratched on the ground on an Italian offensive is also to his credit (24e). He simply survived and guided the Blues for 80 minutes. Because yes, the 3e center line was not replaced and played the entire match, maintaining his level of performance.
The same will be needed next Sunday (9 p.m.) for the quarter-final, likely to be played against South Africa. After the match, Alldritt spoke of the reigning world champions as “a very head-on team” against whom “we will have to refine our strategy, know how to respond physically. We have the weapons for it, players who are capable of it.” Him first.