It was the multi-starred chef Guy Savoy who spiced up the discussions. By placing New Zealand in Group A at the very end of the draw, the famous chef has concocted one of the most beautiful posters ever. The triple world champions (1987, 2011 and 2015), against whom the XV of France has known its greatest joys in the World Cup as its greatest sorrows, guarantee a colorful spectacle for the Blues to whom President Emmanuel Macron present at the ceremony demanded no more than the final victory.
But where to place this appetizer in a menu that will see the France team also face Italy as well as a North American and African nation not yet qualified? In the room of the Palais Brongniart, the scrum half Antoine Dupont who attended the draw, questioned his friend in Toulouse and in the France team, Romain Ntamack at his side. “The public would necessarily like to see a France – New Zealand in the opening match. But it’s a bit early to talk about it. And anyway, you’ll have to face the Blacks at some point during the group stage. “
“In 2011, it did not go very well”
So Claude Atcher, general manager of the organizing committee, gave a first element of response. “I would be personally delighted if we could start the World Cup with a France – New Zealand. Moreover, the officials of the Stade de France ( Editor’s note: enclosure where the opening match will take place ) think the same ”. Before weighting immediately. “We must now discuss with the staff of coach Fabien Galthié who will have a right of scrutiny but not a right of veto”, adds Atcher. The latter ensures “to vouch for the fairness of the treatment of each of the teams” while maintaining “in a linear fashion the attractiveness of this World Cup”.
What is the sporting risk of facing the Blacks, a world benchmark that the Blues have not beaten since 2009, so early in the competition? What advantage to face Italy in the opening? “The last time we faced the Blacks in a group match was in 2011, and it didn’t go very well ( Editor’s note: defeat 17-37), notes Dupont. But then we ended up in the final, which means we did pretty well. “
As for the transalpine training, still largely dominated this fall at the Stade de France, could it not play the troublesome party like Argentina in 2007 against the XV of France in an opening match? The coach at the time who became the boss of the Federation has his own idea. He would lean for a late confrontation. “This allows us to prepare with less difficult oppositions, which does not offend them. And behind, you have a 4th game that allows you to prepare for a quarter-final if you are there. The answer will fall in February 2021 when the timetables are known.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr