Following a 60-7 victory for France towards Italy of their Rugby World Cup Pool A clash, right here’s our takeaways from the recreation at OL Stadium in Lyon on Friday.
The prime line
Outstanding shows by France fly-half Matthieu Jalibert and quantity eight Gregory Alldritt noticed France tear Italy to shreds as they delivered a bonus-point win to prime Pool A and to qualify for World Cup quarter-finals.
Tries from Damian Penaud (2), Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Thomas Ramos, Jalibert, Peato Mauvaka, and one other brace from Yoram Moefana noticed France hit the 60 mark, taking them over 200 factors for the match with solely a miserly 32 conceded, a category main effort that exhibits how full a aspect they’re.
With Maxime Lucu placing in such a assured show that the D phrase was hardly talked about all evening and with Player of the Match Alldritt shining in a show that noticed 20 carries for 84 metres, 14 tackles and a turnoverm France look a aspect stuffed with empowerment from their unbelievable crowd who get pleasure from each second they spend collectively on a rugby pitch.
As Alldritt commented submit match: “That’s the first step done. We’ll have fun this weekend and recover.”
It’s that phrase enjoyable that’s key – it permeates each pore of the French recreation and so they have lit up their very own World Cup.
France are enjoying at a degree solely matched by South Africa and Ireland on this match. They are honing their recreation, experimenting with mixtures and trialling ways.
Today we noticed an absolute 23-man efficiency and for all the fireworks their backline create it’s the fundamentals the place France shine. They are the greatest defensive aspect in the match and so they commit themselves no matter the scenario and what ever the scoreline, working along with pleasure and fervour to guard their line as if their lives trusted it.
In assault, the tempo they begin with has confirmed an excessive amount of for any crew they’ve confronted and in each recreation they’ve performed they’ve crossed the line inside the first 20 minutes, with an assault that’s so brilliantly constructed from their half-backs however completed with gliss, gloss and gumption, with gamers queuing as much as get on the finish of the sensible entrance foot ball France create.
Make no mistake, the French class of 23 is one thing very particular and it’ll take one thing fairly monumental to cease them as the transfer ahead on this competitors.
Those that don’t watch quite a lot of French rugby proclaimed the lack of Romain Ntamack earlier than the Rugby World Cup was a blow Les Bleus couldn’t probably hope to get better from. Those who know the French recreation had been compelled to supply a wry smile at this level, understanding that the mercurial Jalibert was match, firing and formidable, able to grasp the French technique as he has finished on many events earlier than.
The debate has raged for years amongst Top 14 followers about who’s the better of the two 10s, with many neutrals believing the UBB fly-half to be the finer recreation supervisor. Check the Test rugby stats of the final 4 years and you will see that that Jalibert has scored extra tries and made extra assists than some other 10 in the Test enviornment in that interval and tonight he added seven extra assists and a rating himself.
Tonight, he was completely beautiful, enjoying at tempo and with the imaginative and prescient of the best fly-halves. His assists had been all over the place, from the over the prime move to open the scoring for Penaud, the cross-field run and inside move for Ramos and the magnificent off steadiness cross-field kick to see Penaud rating his second. And in fact, he capped his night off with a superb shut vary jinking attempt that noticed him beat 4 Italian gamers to fly over for a attempt that Phil Bennett may effectively have been happy with.
In brief Jalibert is proving to all that the age previous argument about the French 10 is lastly over as a result of on the largest stage of all he’s now proudly owning the shirt by deed fairly than by default.
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Planet Rugby columnist Sergio Parisse mentioned on Thursday that he wished to see his former crew show character and bounce again from their hammering by New Zealand. Well, it won’t have been the magnitude of scoreline that we noticed towards the All Blacks however there was little to be proud about but once more for the Azzurri.
They might need scored a first-half attempt with prop Simone Ferrari nipping over from the backside of a ruck however the Italian loosehead solely had himself accountable as Karl Dickson chalked the rating off for his shoulder to the head of Lucu in the build-up.
The evening was dismal for Kieran Crowley’s males; gone are the inexperienced shoots of Italian restoration we’ve seen in the Six Nations – Italy had been porous in defence, appalling in self-discipline and completely clueless in assault, bar just a few barrelling runs from the all the time constant Juan Ignacio Brex in the centres. The one second of pleasure did come in direction of the finish of the match as part construct up with Brex at the coronary heart of the expenses lastly harassed the French defence sufficient to see Manuel Zuliani dot down on the 70 minute mark.
Italy go away this match chastened and humbled in Pool A, delivering a weak facsimile of their performances lately and it’s clear that when once more they’re at the level the place a reset and rethink is required inside their recreation.
France nearly definitely face South Africa in Paris in the quarter-finals in a match that’s completely mouth-watering.
With Antoine Dupont coming again from harm, he returns a crew which have hardly missed his mercurial presence, a crew that’s confirmed the high quality of its leaders and has delivered nearly seamlessly in his absence.
Fabian Galthie has a few optimistic choice points – he’ll ponder vastly about his left flanker – whether or not the energy of Anthony Jelonch or the relentless breakdown work of Francois Cros will give him the foothold he wants towards the mighty Springboks. He’ll additionally suppose arduous about his loosehead prop, with Redi Wardi and Cyril Baille each in cracking kind and so as to add somewhat extra spice to that choice assembly phrase is that the sensible Toulouse hooker Julien Marchand is near availability after his thigh pressure.
But for all France’s brilliance, this quarter-final shouldn’t be a finished deal; France are bodily, positive – however so are the Springboks who arguably have a touch higher set-piece. This recreation will boil right down to how South Africa address the French assault, one thing that’s been past any crew aside from Ireland this season and it guarantees to be a fully epic encounter.
READ MORE: Will the Springboks ditch Bomb Squad for Rugby World Cup quarter-finals?