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XV of France: an agreement finally found between the Federation and the League

The duel came to an end. Everyone went back to their camp, grumbling under their breath, but with their heads held high. It’s all that matters. Engaged in a standoff that could only lead to a ridiculous situation, the French Federation and the National League reached an agreement this Thursday at the beginning of the afternoon. In fact, the Top 14 clubs will release their internationals for the six matches of the XV de France this fall, but none of them will be able to participate in more than three matches.

The 31 players called up by coach Fabien Galthié will therefore be present in Marcoussis (Essonne) on Monday, in order to prepare for the friendly match against Wales at the Stade de France on Saturday 24 October. France-Ireland will follow, on October 31, still at the Stade de France, the last day of the Six Nations Tournament 2020; then the Autumn Nations Cup, a competition organized to fill the absences of the nations of the South, who remained at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Blues will face Fiji on November 15, will travel to Scotland on the 22nd, then host Italy on the 28th. A classification match against an opponent from the other group (England, Wales, Ireland and Georgia) will be played on the 5th or December 6.

Galthié the big loser

So much for the table. But a hell of a fight took place behind this blue wave supposed above all – except for France-Ireland, the only match that really matters – to occupy the field and collect TV rights under the aegis of World Rugby, the International Federation.

The Top 14 clubs have indeed revolted. Seriously affected by the end of the 2019-2020 season last March, impacted by the restrictive measures that keep a large part of the public away from their stadium, until closed doors now for some of them subject to cover -fire, the clubs said stop.

If they had followed the will of Bernard Laporte, the president of the FFR, they would have lost their best elements for seven weeks, and disputed duplicates without them. “We are supporters of the XV of France but at one point, that’s a lot,” said Jacky Lorenzetti, President of Racing 92 who is playing the European Cup final this Saturday against Exeter in Bristol, England. “Should we organize an extra preparation match?” “, Launched Didier Lacroix, his Toulouse counterpart, targeting the France-Wales outfit on October 24. Bernard Lemaître, the Toulon president even threatening not to release Charles Ollivon, the captain of the XV of France for this meeting.

The Council of State, seized by the National League, referred everyone to a new negotiation, which took place on Wednesday and Thursday. Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu seriously urged both camps to find a solution. Finally, Charles Ollivon will be there to face the Welsh, but he will not play more than three games out of the six played by the Blues. Like each of his teammates.

The League and the clubs have also obtained to release “only” 31 players for each match. Fabien Galthié, him, had taken the habit, during the last Tournament, to prepare the meetings with 42… He is the big loser of history. The tricolor rugby, subjected to an economic crisis, no longer has these means.

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