In the football land that is the north of the phrase, the expression is well known: the important thing is the three points. An element of language well taken up (and adapted to rugby) by the staff and players of the French XV on Thursday evening, after the narrow victory against Uruguay (27-12). +4 points in the bag, first place in Group A consolidated: that’s what you need to remember from the dull evening in Lille. Hotly, Fabien Galthié dismissed questions about the quality of the game offered by his team. Paul Boudehent, the young 3rd row, was more eloquent in his analysis of the match. Without forgetting that the main thing is victory.
Is there a feeling of frustration this evening?
We are frustrated, of course! Afterwards, what we said to each other in the locker room is that World Cup matches are always very special. We didn’t know this Uruguay team, it was a context that was a bit new. Even if no one wants to believe it, it was a trap match. We could have done better but we brought home four points. In a World Cup match, four points are a given. We retain the positive.
Of course we could have done better, there are some regrets because we could have produced a completely different game and been more efficient. But we know that the competition is long. We’re not putting our heads in the deep end now.
Were you surprised by this Uruguayan team?
We had prepared well for the week. They played with great heart. They were super brave, we knew it. They certainly put us in difficulty. We knew they were going to play with a lot of desire and will and that’s what they did.
How do you explain this indiscipline (15 penalties conceded, editor’s note)?
I think they surprised us with their desire. We knew it, we had prepared for it but they played very well. I wouldn’t say that we lacked rigor but we really could have done better. We end up with 15 penalties. We settled on 4, in those waters. We will work on it. We can’t always do exactly what we planned.
We felt you, the forwards, were having difficulty on rucks and mauls. What is your analysis?
I think we were a little isolated where they, especially on the rucks, came in groups. They were everywhere. It was our mistake. We found ourselves alone at certain times in the rucks, in the mauls. Afterwards, on the mauls, you have to review the images, because in my opinion… (He cuts)
What about the scrum? Both teams were sanctioned several times…
The feeling I have is that we are dominant, that we are really on the verge of tipping over and they are diving. I have the impression that we are penalized every time because they know that we make a big impact. They refuse the impact on their side. This is my feeling on the ground. I found it to be harsh.
No panic in the locker room after this match?
No, don’t panic. These are World Cup matches, so we know it’s always tricky. We hardly knew this Uruguay team. They played with all their heart. We don’t add the broth. We take 4 points, the competition is long. The group continues to learn and build itself.
Comments collected in Villeneuve-d’Ascq