The coach explained at a press conference on Tuesday at noon that he had decided to recall his senior players against Namibia this Thursday (9pm) in Marseille. The decision, he said, had nothing to do with the poor performance of the reserves last Thursday against Uruguay (a 27-12 win), which itself followed the brilliant success of the usual hosts against New Zealand (27-13) on September 8 during the opening of the competition at the Stade de France. Fabien Galthier also returned to the pack of Gregory Aldritt and the importance of Cyril Bale and Jonathan Danti returning from injury.
Cyril Bayle and Jonathan Danty start, Gregory Aldritt injured one knee
“During yesterday’s training, Gregory felt slight discomfort in one knee. He was spared. We made a decision together with him to treat him properly so that he is 100% ready when he plays. Cyril Bayle and Jonathan Danty have been regular starters for four years. They have participated in all the fights, the Six Nations tournaments and in particular the Grand Slam tournament (2022). They were there almost all the time during the tours in France, abroad it is a little different because there is a rotation of the line-up. They are very important players in their position, with a lot of experience. »
Why were the leaders recalled?
“We hear a lot of controversy about the composition of the teams. We form our teams every week. There are no long-term forecasts for the competition. We have a vision of training and rotations. We keep track of game time, watch performances, work on emulation, because we need everyone. We had an idea about starting the competition. This match against the All Blacks was clearly marked. We fielded the best team at the moment. It was a success for the entire group, not just the players lined up. Uruguay arrived six days later. We had to recover. With a seven-day week, players know if they’re starting day two, and we officially tell them on day three because we have to work.
After the Uruguay game we had seven days with the option to bring back those who had played against the All Blacks, with some changes such as Gregory Aldritt being sent off. There is no reaction to Uruguay or change of course. Our method is based on adaptability. We could quote Charles Darwin (the British naturalist who wrote the theory of evolution in the 19th century): It is not the strongest who survive, but those who adapt. »
Expected excitement at the Stade Vélodrome
“I love the Velodrome. I’m a fan. I don’t have bad memories. I played for the All Blacks, Australia, South Africa, won the Top 14 semi-final with Montpellier against Racing (2011). We faced the All Blacks in 2000 and never played at the Velodrome. We stopped in Aix-en-Provence. We arrive in Marseille and get lost. The bus can’t find the stadium.
We got there only half an hour early and made a mistake: we ended up at a reception at the Société Générale. Finally, we entered the dressing room a quarter of an hour before the start of the match. We had an idea to finish the warm-up. The crowd at that moment was very close to the sideline, so we walked along the field very slowly. There was such excitement. When we returned to the locker room, we were hot. After a quarter of an hour of play we were leading 17-0 (final victory 42-33)…”