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The 'so perfect' France reaction to keeping alive U20s title defence

By Liam Heagney
Hoani Bosmorin scores for France U20 against Wales in Athlone (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images via Getty Images)

Tuesday was moving day at the World Rugby U20 Championship and there was no one more menacing than France, the defending champions. Any suggestion that their last-gasp defeat to New Zealand last Thursday had loosened their grip on the trophy they have won for the last three times in succession was dismissed clinically in the Athlone mud.

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The French had immediately done their numbers in the wake of the 26-27 loss to the Baby Blacks in Stellenbosch and knew that a bonus point win over Wales on pool match day three would still qualify them for the semi-finals.

This they did, overcoming initial Welsh defiance to have the four-try bonus point bagged by the 44th minute. Then it was a matter of minding themselves, using their bench to rest up some key players and then waiting for the results from the 7pm matches to learn who they would face at the Cape Town Stadium this Sunday.

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In the end, they were paired with New Zealand whose win over Spain in a match that was abandoned at half-time clinched them the top spot in the pool and the No1 ranking, setting up a second Baby Blacks-Les Bleuets meeting in 10 days.

The English national anthem was playing out on the pitch before their kick-off versus South Africa when RugbyPass caught up with the French assistant coach in the Athlone tunnel. Philippe Boher is a character with an encyclopedic knowledge of age-grade rugby – he was involved with the set-up as far back as 2008.

Attack

183
Passes
126
150
Ball Carries
101
237m
Post Contact Metres
112m
8
Line Breaks
3

Four titles in a row at the Championship? “We’ll see. Every competition is hard, very hard. It’s not easy to come again each year in the final. We’ll see. We’ll do our best in the semi-finals.

“We knew that there was a chance for us, so we weren’t devastated effectively in the Stellenbosch defeat, but the pressure was on us to win with a bonus point to be sure we qualified. We did very well. So perfect,” he said reflecting on the 29-11 win over the Welsh in what was essentially a winner-takes-all quarter-final.

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“It was important for us to have a good game and play our better rugby than we have done in the two previous games. That was done, and the second thing was we qualified for the semi-finals so it’s okay for us. We are going to prepare well now.

“The weather conditions were hard but we had very good moves, tried to find some spaces and that was interesting. Our lineout and scrum worked well too, and good defence also. First half we were good. After we had a lot of changes so we became not so efficient.”

    • Click here to sign up to RugbyPass TV for free live coverage of matches from the 2024 World Rugby U20 Championship in countries that don’t have an exclusive local host broadcaster deal

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Comments

5 Comments
T
Tony 13 days ago

Can someone please explain how you can finish 1 and 2 in your Pool then have to play each other again in the semi Final ?

Normally the winner of a Pool plays the Runner up in another Pool etc

In what other Sport does this happen ?

cheers Tony

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