Beware of missteps. Yes, France have won two matches against Italy in 2022. Yes, France have fought for the title until the end. a last Six Nations Tournament (finally won by England) when Italy he only finished in fifth place. Yes, France is aiming for an eighth World Cup semi-final in nine appearances, while Italy had never reached the knockout stage until now.
But if Les Bleues are favorites against Transalpinas before their clash in the World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday 29 October in Wangerei, it is the outsiders who walk away with a psychological advantage.
Quarterfinalists for the first time!
— Rugby World Cup (@rugbyworldcup) October 23, 2022
Blame not-so-distant antecedents. Before flying to the World Cup, the French challenged the azures three times this year, without ever convincing. Already in March, the XV of France had been booed during the Tournament despite a flattering score (39-6), before the two matches in September left a much more bitter touch. First a slow victory in Nice during the first round (21-0), then a surprise defeat in Biella (26-19). Which leaves a definitive record of the bad step of the Blue with a year 2022 halfway in the game.
“We necessarily think so because we lost last time against them. But the challenge is not so much to get revenge as to show that we have rebuilt ourselves since then.”Céline Ferer, second line of the XV of France
at a press conference
Given what the French coach, Thomas Darracq, considers a “beautiful”Saturday, France was not really calm. During their three World Cup group stage matches, Les Bleues have alternated between the good – such as their defensive solidity against England – and the less good, characterized by their inability to score tries against lesser opponents (South Africa, Fiji).
A very different dynamic from that of Italy, which raises mountains in New Zealand. Although they lost to Canada in Group B (22-12), the teamAndrea Di Giandomenico reached the quarterfinals by beating the United States (22-10) and Japan (21-8). A historical rating for transalpine rugby that had never reached this stage in the World Cup, both in men and women.
— Rugby World Cup (@RugbyWorldCupFR) October 27, 2022
“Italy has made significant progress in recent monthsrightly pointed out Thomas Darracq at a press conference on Wednesday. It is a team that knows us well, with many players playing in France. His way of playing is very similar to ours in the desire to encourage, in the ways of playing”.
This is the reason why the coach opted for his usual team after rotating against Fiji (44-0). Apart from the absences of Laure Sansus, package for the remainder of the competition, and Romane Ménager, who is recovering from a concussion, the coach has only made one tactical change compared to the match against England. Captain Gaëlle Hermet, on break since the start of the competition, will regain his place in the third band line.
The composition for the 1/4 finals of the World Cup!
– France Rugby (@FranceRugby) October 26, 2022
“We wanted to put the most competitive team to oppose the playing profile of Italy, a playful team, with a lot of dynamismexplained the tricolor technician. We know how to block them well, like we did in Nice, but we also know how they surprised us in Biella.”
That’s good, compared to the revamped team defeated in September, only eight players will start. A first positive point before this great test against the Italians. To finally erase everything that was missing in 2022 and allow us to aim higher, with perhaps a date against the New Zealanders in the semi-finals.
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