RUGBY. France: the only nation with so many wealth problems?

Choice in all positions

Rather Ramos or Jaminet? Ntamack or Jalibert? Or Marchand or Mauvaka? So many questions that the staff of the France team has the luxury of asking. Indeed, this golden generation is not only talented, it is also complete, and this is rare. In the history of the XV of France, nuggets, there have been, legends have passed and marked the history of our sport. However, rugby is a team sport, and for one of the first times in its history, our XV of France seems to have more talent than ever. Among these young people who form the new generation, some are part of the world titles of the u20 team, in 2018 and 2019. Indeed, from now on, they are the delight of the great French team, and we can cite: Romain Ntamack, Demba Bamba, Pierre-Louis Barassi, Matthis Lebel, Cameron Woki, Arthur Vincent and Jean-Baptiste Gros. Some of these players are now executives of our France team. The very good current results are obviously the result of effective training, which has been able to mature and flourish year after year. Also, at international level, we have one of the youngest teams, with an average age of around 26 at the last autumn tour. It is a rare fact to be underlined, because this has not always been the case. A few years ago, the new breath of the Blues was struggling to be felt, especially in 2017 with a black series of 8 consecutive defeats under the Novès era. Today, when we look at position by position, the French pool is substantial, and even when the injuries persist on our pillars (like during this tour), the quality is still there. Our second lines can play in the third line, our third lines walk on water and the substitutes get level with the starters at each entry. Then, on the back lines, it’s even more impressive. Indeed, we have the best number 9 in the world, of course, but in this position, we are full of talent in our championship, and we already know that the succession is assured. Then, for a long time, the XV of France looked for the big number 10, the one who can be decisive, the game leader par excellence. If in 2015, the choice of the opener of the XV of France before the World Cup gave Phillipe Saint-André a hard time, in balance between 5 players (Tales, Trinh-Duc, Lopez, Michalak and Plisson), for this 2023 edition, the choices seem already made. Barring injury, or a significant drop in the diet of one or the other, Matthieu Jalibert and Romain Ntamack should participate in the World Cup in France. These two very good openers are part of the renewal of the France team. In addition, at the center position, we are also rich with all the same Gael Fickou who is essential as the cornerstone of the system of the Blues. Then, Penaud seems unavoidable, causes the battle for the left wing to rage. The Ramos / Jaminet tandem is also a luxury when it comes to competition.

Look around us

When we take an interest in our neighbours, especially Europeans, the reversal has difficulty in taking place. preferentially, among our best enemies, the English, the dynamism is not splendid. Despite the young guard led by Smith and Steward, the rest of the team is struggling to forget their former glories, such as the scrum-half position where the absence of Ben Young is felt. Even more striking, despite the Irish’s first place in the world, the squad is not as deep as ours. Although successful, the Murray-Sexton duo still keeps the team afloat and is struggling to be replaced, just like old veteran Cian Healy, who at the age of 35 still does not pass the torch. The problem is even more obvious in the XV leek, which does not find the youth of yesteryear. It is in the position of number 10 that this team is struggling, just like South Africa, which is always trying to make people forget their former glories in this position. Finally, even if Italy is carried by a new generation full of ambition and talent, the quantity of players is less and the quality less equal within a full squad. We just have to gauge ourselves against the All Blacks, and that will come in the opening game of the World Cup.

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