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these five reference matches that built the Blues in their conquest of the Six Nations Tournament

He wanted to make France a major nation in world rugby again. Win matches and titles. A little over two years after his arrival in the costume of general coach, with Raphael Ibanez as manager, Fabien Galthié won his first title with the XV of France, Saturday March 19, by achieving the Grand Slam after beating the England (25-13).

A first step in the “arrow of time” designed by the man with the now famous glasses, who calls others to a year and a half of the 2023 World Cup, in France.

February 2020: France-England, the founding act

For the first match of their mandate, Fabien Galthié and consort start with heavy. Finalist of the World Cup in Japan a few months earlier, it is an XV de la Rose sure of its strengths and masterfully cornered by Eddie Jones who moves to France. Moreover, faced with a rejuvenated French team, the man with the sly smile declares that he wants put these young players to the test because they have never faced the intensity and physical brutality with which we will play on Sunday”.

The young players Jones talks about include U20 world champions Demba Bamba, Cameron Woki and Arthur Vincent. Also appearing in the starting XV are two surprises, not yet cataloged UFOs: Mohamed Haouas and Anthony Bouthier. All led by a captain, Charles Ollivon, who had been predicted a few months before a premature end to his career due to injury.

Captain Charles Ollivon congratulates his second line Bernard Le Roux after the victory over England, February 2, 2020 at the Stade de France.  (MARTIN BUREAU / AFP)

Still, on the meadow, the novices do not have an inferiority complex and start very strong with a victory (24-17) without fear or complex. Accustomed to encouraging defeats, the French public discovers exciting victories. Others will follow very quickly.

February 2020: Wales-France, a success to mature

Ten years without a win in Cardiff. And the end of the scarcity. An interception from Romain Ntamack, an unexpected return from Arthur Vincent and a decisive scratch from Camille Chat. The end of the match against Wales, on their lawn at the Millenium Stadium, is as stressful as it is happy. For their last match of the pre-covid era, the Blues strike a blow by beating the reigning Grand Slam winner (23-27). Still inexperienced but over-motivated, the young French team manages to outsmart the Welsh winning machine.

Then using the game of dispossession, to better surprise their opponents on the counter, the French were precise in attack, scoring three tries that day by Bouthier, Willemse and Ntamack. Above all, in an overheated atmosphere, they show themselves to be united and united. As often, in pain France tightens. After three victories in three games, all hopes seem to be open to winning the Tournament or better, signing the Grand Slam. It will finally be nothing because of a defeat in Scotland in the next match.

February 2021: Ireland-France, a foolproof defense

Before the victory against the All Blacks, this success in Ireland (13-15) was for a long time the reference match of the Galthié era. With 176 tackles that day, Charles Ollivon’s teammates made a first demonstration of their iron defense, now trained for a year by English strategist Shaun Edwards.

“It’s a game that we could have lost last year, but we see that we are improving game after game, it’s nice. We can always make the games easier, that’s why we will continue to work, see where we can improve. We will retain the four points. It’s been a while since France won here (ten years)

After this defeat, the XV of Clover will chain a series of nine victories before losing again against the XV of France, in the 2022 edition of the Six Nations Tournament.

June 2021: Australia-France, the first victory in the hemisphere

Scheduled at the same time as the final of Top 14, this tour in Australia, the first of the band in Galthié in the southern hemisphere, does not look under the best auspices. The finalists from Toulouse and La Rochelle are naturally absent, as are certain executives tired by an exhausting season. In the end, it’s a good bunch of rookies who present themselves in Australia, where France has not won for 31 years.

The third international center line Anthony Jelonch, knees on the ground, lets his joy explode after the victory of the XV of France in Australia (28-26), July 13, 2021. (WILLIAM WEST / AFP)

Passed a hair, and a successful pass, of a victory in the first test match, the Tricolores took their revenge in the following match (victory 26-28). With its second and third knives, the XV of France proves that it is once again capable of imposing itself in the southern hemisphere. The defeat, once again short, during the beautiful does not change anything. Whether bis, bis prime or complete, this French team wins. And France discovers on this occasion a back scorer: Melvyn Jaminet, who then evolves in ProD2.

November 2021: France-New Zealand, the best against the best

“Beating the All Blacks changes a man”, had warned Raphael Ibanez and Fabien Galthié before the last meeting of the Autumn Tour. It changes the reputation of a team. Until then promising and authors of great victories against the best European nations and Australia, France is now able to beat the best nation in the world. And with the way (40-25). In a Stade de France boiling like never before, Antoine Dupont and his family signed a show of force that day.

Throwback to the great victory of the XV of France in a memorable evening against New Zealand!

First at the very beginning of the match, with a fanfare start. Then in the second half, after suffering from the awakening of the New Zealand force and well helped by the recovery from its in-goal by Romain Ntamack. In the end, the Blues pass 40 points to New Zealand and confirm that we must now count on them.

March 2022: France-England, victory to close the loop

It had been twelve years since the XV of France had not won any title. On Saturday March 19, at the Stade de France, a little more than two years after the first victory of the Galthié era, the English of Eddie Jones were still opposite. The last step is sometimes the hardest to take. Despite their two defeats on the clock, England gave the Blues a lot of trouble. Between his aggressiveness in the game up close, his pressure or displacement kicks, the XV of the Rose made the Blues doubt.

But at the time of concluding, the French did not crack, unlike many of their elders. After two years finished in second place in the Tournament, France has moved up a notch. A Grand Slam, the first since 2010, the first title for twelve years, the teammates of Antoine Dupont, still a decisive try scorer, have invited themselves into the big leagues.

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