“We are not serene before Ireland”
The second line of Stade Toulousain, author of the first tricolor test and a successful performance, recognizes that the Blues have sinned in many sectors against Italy.
At the final whistle, it was first a sigh of relief?
Thibaud Flament: A little yes. From an accounting point of view, it is positive. We win away and we take the offensive bonus, that’s what we remember. But it was difficult… We had trouble imposing our game, we had trouble dominating them in conquest. The Italians played their shots well by putting us in danger until the end of the match. We are a little divided.
You had problems in the ground game, one of Ireland’s strongest points, your next opponent…
We will have to correct this sector for the match against Ireland. We had worked on it a lot but we are not paid today (Sunday). We have to keep working on it.
You have been heavily penalized by the referee. Have you always understood why?
The referee explained to us each time our faults. We follow what he says. There is nothing to discuss. We may have challenged a little too much on the ground. The situations were probably not clear enough. We need to be cleaner. We talked about it at halftime. We tried to get less involved in the rucks afterwards. But there are also offside fouls. This needs to be corrected quickly. When you make about fifteen mistakes (18 actually, editor’s note), it’s hard to play in the advance. It leaves a lot of opportunities for the opponent and it’s complicated to impose our game.
“The Irish are tough, they play well, they play fast, they play fair. We are a little under pressure with our match against Italy.
How do you explain that France is still struggling to start its competitions?
The competition is long, so we prepare hard physically. We did two intense weeks and we knew it would sting today (SATURDAY). This is perhaps what explains these difficult beginnings…
It will be imperative to do better in Dublin next Saturday…
We have to get back on the right track because we are going to be among the first in the world. Everything that has sinned against Italy must be corrected. We are not calm. We are even a little under pressure with our match against Italy. The Irish are tough, they’re clean. It plays well, it plays fast, it plays fair. It’s going to be a big game.
A first final?
No, we can’t say that. We have just seen it against Italy: in the Tournament all the matches are high. Of course, the poster is beautiful, but there will still be others after. So no, it’s not a final before its time.