“It would be dangerous for the All Blacks to say that the defeat against France does not matter”

Dan Carter presents the Webb Ellis Trophy, the cup which will be awarded to the winning team of the World Cup, during the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup, at the Stade de France, September 8, 2023.

New Zealander Dan Carter is a rugby legend. After wearing his country’s black tunic 112 times, scoring nearly 1,600 points, winning two World Cups and being crowned the best player on the planet three times, he retired internationally in 2015. He also knows very good French rugby, having played for a year in Perpignan, before wearing the colors of Racing 92 for three seasons, the club which he took to the title of champion of France during the final, in 2016.

Met on September 11, in Vanves (Hauts-de-Seine), in the premises of his French publisher, the former All Blacks returns, to The world, on his country’s defeat against the Blues in the opening match of the World Cup, on September 8, and the reasons which, according to him, make the French XV one of the favorites for the supreme title. At the end of the summer, he published The Art of Victory (Marabout, 240 p., €22.90). His compatriots face Namibia, Friday September 15, in Toulouse (at 9 p.m., on TF1).

How was this inaugural defeat of the All Blacks perceived in New Zealand?

People are disappointed. We knew we were going to face a French team in great shape, but we were still optimistic. Does this change anything for the rest of our World Cup? I do not believe. Whether we finish first or second in this group, we will still have to face one of the best teams in the world, South Africa, Ireland or perhaps Scotland. The knockout stage is very different, anything can happen.

How can New Zealand improve for the rest of their World Cup?

It is often said that real failure is when you learn nothing. It would be dangerous for the All Blacks to say that the defeat against France does not matter. They must therefore review, dissect and analyze the match and identify the critical points, what they must change. Discipline, in particular. To win a World Cup, you have to be extremely disciplined. We must therefore understand why these penalties were called. Was it because of the pressure put on by the French? Was it an execution problem? Or state of mind?

You also have to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves during the match. There aren’t many opportunities to put opponents at bay, so you have to be extremely clinical.

They also undoubtedly learned from the loss of their captain a day before the match [le capitaine de la Nouvelle-Zélande, Sam Cane, s’est blessé à l’entraînement la veille du match d’ouverture]. What if it happens again? History shows that at a World Cup there are injuries, suspensions, and all sorts of problems. How do you learn from this kind of situation? These little things, if they talk about them among themselves and if they learn, will make them better.

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