The XV of France won its second test match against Japan this Saturday. The Blues suffered, but offered their tenth victory in a row.
The film of the match: we say thank you to the bench!
It was complicated for the Blues this Saturday morning. Faced with a Japanese team which had found some executives of its team, the XV of France had to wait the last twenty minutes of the meeting to crack their opponent. Behind at half-time (15-7) after a double from Yamanaka, Fabien Galthié’s players suffered numerous Japanese counter-attacks.
In the second half, the Tricolores played much better thanks to the contribution of the bench of substitutes. Penalties from Lucu and Jalibert allowed the Blues to come back to score. Before Macalou, entered as a winger fails a few centimeters from the line. It was finally Baptiste Couilloud, who had replaced a Maxime Lucu inside this Saturday, who scored the winning try. The best try scorer of the year in the Top 14 took advantage of an excellent blue scrum to go under the posts (20-15).
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Still under pressure, Charles Ollivon’s teammates thought they had taken a try from Tatafu but the latter let the ball slip away when he was in the in-goal after an unexpected return from Moefana. The Blues won but it was complicated.
The fact of the match: the Blues behind at half-time
Last week, the XV of France had started its match perfectly with a try from Damian Penaud from the 2e minute. But had then been caught by the Brave Blossoms. And it was a kind of bis repetita this Saturday. In front of the score thanks to the test of Matthis Lebel, the Blues then saw the Japanese return to the score, before they passed in front.
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And that they take off just before the break (15-7). This is quite notable since it is only the second time in the Galthier era that the Blues have been behind at half-time, the first time being in Scotland.
Player of the game: Lebel was in good shape
He was the only one to evolve to his true level in Tokyo this Saturday. Despite the little ball to put in their mouths, Matthis Lebel managed to grow them. From the 10th minute and his first attack ball, he took advantage of Vakatawa’s good ball to clear his vis-à-vis in the 5m lane and went into the in-goal.
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His second try in two games in Japan. Very good under aerial balls, the Stade Toulousain winger also stood out in the second half with a recovered ball and a kicking game which proved to be judicious. Two phases of play later, the Blues scored 3 more points. The native of Samatan also made a superb one-step pass before Macalou failed a few centimeters from the line. In his defense, a less incisive defense.
The lesson of the match: the record of victories equaled
And one more that makes ten. With this second victory in two games on Japanese soil, the Blues have a tenth success in a row. Series which began this series on November 6 by beating Argentina. In the meantime, Fabien Galthié’s players have won the Six Nations Tournament, Grand Slam in their pocket.
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It’s simple the XV of France has not bowed since the third match of the summer tour last year in Australia. With this tenth victory, they equal a very old record dating from before the war. Peato Mauvaka’s teammates will have the opportunity to beat this record against… Australia during the autumn tour.