How to stick a +21 points to the Scots? Instructions for use with the Blues of 2007

It was not until the last try (granted after video) in the 80th minute to see the XV win against Scotland in 2007. – JACK GUEZ / AFP

  • The XV of France faces Scotland, Friday evening at the Stade de France, for the last match of the VI Nations Tournament.
  • To lift the trophy, they will have to score four tries to recover the offensive bonus and at least 21 points more than the XV du Chardon.
  • In 2007, the Blues had won this crazy bet. They are now giving their recipe for achieving the feat.

At the risk of upsetting the HEC students who got the old adage tattooed “They didn’t know it was impossible, so they did it” on the forearm, it’s not towards this ode to the infinite hope that the XV of France will have to hang on to seek victory in the Six Nations Tournament on Friday. Because if the gang in Galthié will indeed have to achieve the impossible – or the very difficult -, namely to score four tries (synonymous with an offensive bonus) and to win by at least 21 points of difference against the Scots, they will be able to s ‘lean on their elders who, thirteen years earlier, in this same Stade de France, had found themselves in a configuration similar to having to stick a comb to the XV du Chardon to lift the trophy.

With two, three details all the same, because at the time three teams were in the race for the final victory and, above all, the three played on the same day. They had therefore not had, as is the case for the Blues since the end of the match against the Welsh, to think about for a long time. Vincent Clerc remembers: “We quickly saw the end of the Irish match, so we knew we had to win by 24 points against the Scots but we didn’t have time to dwell on it. We just said to ourselves: “Ok, fire! “. “

Captain of the Blues in 2007, Raphaël Ibañez will be able to give some advice to his players on Friday. – DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

Tip # 1: don’t rush, build success step by step

As they told us at a press conference all week, the Blues will do everything not to approach this meeting with the obsession with +21 in mind. “We focus on victory, we know that we will have to score a lot but we cannot prepare for a match by saying to ourselves” we must win by 21 points or more “, advance Gaël Fickou. We must first focus on winning and then, depending on the scenario, we will look for what we can over the course of the match. “A commendable desire, says Vincent Clerc, but the former winger is not fooled:” It’s the right mentality of course, but in the end they will not be able to help but think about it, it’s impossible to completely disregard it. “

Failing to play amnesiacs, the former Toulousain advises them first to “not overplay, or outsmart.” “Because opposite, according to Imanol Harinordoquy, it is not the same team of Scotland as at the time. “They are going to play a very successful Scottish team that we don’t talk about much I think. It’s really not going to be an easy task. Unlike 2007, they’re really going to play this game to win it because they can still finish second in the tournament, which hasn’t happened to them for over 20 years, I believe. There will be a team that will not be there to play for the honor and that will have some strengths to showcase. “

“We know that we will have the best defense in the tournament in front of us,” rear coach Laurent Labit recalled on Tuesday. It is true that, on paper, the cocktail “best defense + obligations to score a bunch of points” still looks like big traps. This is why the elders insist on the need to remain calm, whatever the scenario of the meeting.

“It will really be necessary to contain them and build victory step by step, to take the lead in the score, even if it is by points at the foot, announces Vincent Clerc. Before, then, to turn to a strategy more oriented towards the goal-average. But you shouldn’t get the wrong entry goal and end up panicking if you don’t score a test right away. Maybe this tournament will be played in the last twenty minutes. In this, the end of the match loca loca against the Welsh should serve them. “Absolutely, they saw that they were able in a very short time to score a lot of points and reverse the game on the wire, it’s not uninteresting to have that in mind on Friday night”, supports the old tricolor.

Tip 2: Avoid making the same start to the match as the old ones

If the history of this France-Scotland 2007 had to teach them only one thing, it would be especially not to be like the Blues of the time, who had fired a missile in the pumps at the very beginning of the match. . “Above all, we will have to avoid taking a lot of tries, and therefore working a lot on the defense to be efficient. What we had moderately managed to do at the time since we took an entry test and from -24 we ended up at -31! But we did it anyway [sur un essai validé par la vidéo à la 80e minute de jeu], it also proves that everything is possible and that we must not let go until the end. “

To avoid the same sweats, shouldn’t we then put the famous game of dispossession dear to Fabien Galthié back in the cupboard for a match, just to have control of the game as long as possible? On this point, the staff does not necessarily agree with us. “We will remain on the principles that are ours, warns Laurent Labit. There will be no question of carrying the ball and attacking anyhow. We know that we have the best defense in the tournament in front of us. You will have to do things in order. After, concerning the game of dispossession, we never asked our players to get rid of the ball and wait for the right moments to play. We just won’t have to overplay it because we know that Scotland is capable of excelling on recovery balls. “

In 2007, the Blues returned to celebrate their victory in the 6 Nations in a stadium in France emptied of its supporters for hours.
In 2007, the Blues returned to celebrate their victory in the 6 Nations in a stadium in France emptied of its supporters for hours. – DAMIEN MEYER / AFP

“I find that this has already been the case last week, corrects Clerc. They knew they needed to score four tries against the Welsh and we saw them a lot less in dispossession, they got the ball, they got into the in-goal four times without the tries being granted. It may be necessary to accentuate the line even more, but it will especially be necessary to review the copy in defense. Offensively, well, we know what this team is capable of doing so if it solves its problems behind, I think it is capable of creating the feat. “

Unlike 2007, at least, the Blues will not have to wait for the result of their opponent for the title since the Welsh have already played all their matches. “I remember, we had been drinking beers in the locker room watching the England match, rewinds Harinordoquy with nostalgia. Finally we came out with the trophy on the pitch except that there was no one left in the stadium to celebrate the victory with us (laughs)! “. Like Friday, basically. There are signs that never fail.

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