The staff of the XV of France wanted to use this Japanese tour to test their group. Carried by a few holders present to supervise the 17 neophytes, the Blues showed a new face during their two meetings on the archipelago (victories 42-23 and 20-15). Not everyone played, but some took the opportunity to shine. Returning from injury to become a starter and captain of this selection again during this tour, Charles Ollivon will give headaches to the French staff in the coming months. Franceinfo: sport takes stock of the winners and losers of the trip to Japan.
The winners: Damian Penaud, Matthis Lebel and the first line at the rendezvous
There was no doubt, but Damian Penaud has indeed confirmed his status as essential in the blue jersey. The Clermontois, masters of the wings, offered himself a double during the first meeting, and was one of the only ones to be restless during the low periods of the XV of France. Qualities recognized and praised by the coach in charge of the attack, Laurent Labit, before the second match: “Damian, everyone sees him on the field: he is a player of an exceptional athletic dimension. Over time, he has also become a scorer, a scorer. Above all, he has progressed in terms of to dezone, to make yourself available to the four corners of the field.”
In the absence of Gabin Villière, injured, Matthis Lebel also scored points. Author of two tries over the two games, the Toulousain surfed on his good form in the final stages of the Top 14 to show that he was not just a good club player. While he had not particularly shone during his first selection in the fall, Lebel took on a little more volume and put his name in the waivers for the wing tenure.
Finally, the first tricolor line marked the spirits by its solidity and its power during the two meetings. Archi present at the tackle (42 in total over the two matches), Jean-Baptiste Gros, Peato Mauvaka and Demba Bamba floated to lead the fight against the Japanese. Usual “finishers”, the three men have proven that they have the stature to assume, if necessary, the role of holder.
The losers: Matthieu Jalibert and Thibaut Flament below expectations
It was perhaps the most anticipated on this tour. In the absence of Romain Ntamack and Antoine Dupont, spared, Matthieu Jalibert had everything to try to prove that he was boxing in the same league as his teammates. Fabien Galthié was waiting for him at the turn to “Try the challenge”as he explained before the first game. But the Bordelais did not rise to the height of the event. Overall clean, however, it did not manage to surpass and transcend itself. At 23, Jalibert remains for the moment confined to the role of good second knife. This is also the case of Maxime Lucu, his friend in the fray at Bordeaux-Bègles as in Blue during these two matches. Despite two tenures, the hinge of the UBB was not flamboyant.
Thibaut Flament also had a difficult summer tour. Established twice in the second row alongside rookie Thomas Jolmes, the Toulousain did not take the opportunity to take a step forward in progress and taking responsibility. Fourteen months from the World Cup at home, he still has to prove himself to upset the hierarchy and shake up the two holders Paul Willemse and Romain Taofifenua, spared.