FRA team announcement (v NAM): Dupont, Galthié, Jelonch, Ramos comments

FRA team announcement (v NAM): Dupont, Galthié, Jelonch, Ramos comments

 Comments from France captain Antoine Dupont, head coach Fabien Galthié, back-row Anthony Jelonch and full-back Thomas Ramos following the announcement of the team to play Namibia in Pool A at Stade de Marseille on Thursday, 21 September.

Antoine Dupont, captain


On playing alongside Matthieu Jalibert again:


"More important than the understanding I already have with Matthieu Jalibert is that lot of players have been rested ahead of this match. It was a question of putting together our best team according to our fitness, to play the best match, both in terms of results and form."


On Cyril Baille's return from injury:


"His injury could have kept him out of the World Cup. But the staff's decision to keep him in the squad was important for him and for the group, and he’s worked hard to come back for this match.


"We know all about his qualities as a player. He offers us a different profile to Jean-Baptiste [Gros] and Reda [Wardi]. He's got that link role in attack that helps set the pace. I'm very happy he’s back."


On his memories of Stade de Marseille:

"I have very mixed memories of my last match there [against South Africa, when he was sent off]...”


Fabien Galthié, head coach


On resting Grégory Alldritt:


"He felt some discomfort in his knee in training, which is why he has been rested. We want him to be 100 per cent fit to play for France."


On a second World Cup appearance for wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey:


"It’s all down to his performance - what he’s done since he’s been with us. He deserves to wear the jersey again. He's a player who came into the dressing room to get the jersey. We need everyone, and Louis is there every time he goes out."


On Cameron Woki:

"Thibaud Flament shares the number four shirt with him, though we think he can play five. Cameron is in good shape, he's coping with the workload, he's doing well. There are different player profiles in this team and some can link up easily."


On the return of prop Cyril Baille and centre Jonathan Danty from injury:

"They’re first-team regulars with us, and they’ve been in every battle. They’re very important players for the French team, in their positions and with a lot of experience."


On not selecting Jean-Baptiste Gros and Gabin Villière:

"They're doing very well medically. As part of the rotations, I chose to put others in their positions. They're doing very well."


On squad rotation for this match:

"We hear a lot of talk about team compositions. It's important to remember that we compose our teams on a weekly basis. From the day after the match, with the staff, we have a team-building mechanism where each player composes his own team. 


"We have a vision of the preparation, rotation, we look at performances, we need everyone. The match against the All Blacks was clearly identified. The match was a success for the group, not just for the team. 

"For the match against Uruguay, those who had played the All Blacks needed to recover. 


"After the match in Lille, we had seven days to put the All Blacks players back into a classic rotation. This is the team we fielded the day after the Uruguay match. Our method is based on adaptability. We adapt and read according to the deadlines. It's Darwin’s theory: the most intelligent species adapts."


On his memories of Stade de Marseille:

"I love it. I'm a fan. I only have great memories, no bad ones: the All Blacks, England, Australia, South Africa as a player, a semi-final with Toulon against Racing, against South Africa with the current French team... The stadium has changed a lot.


"In 2000, we were due to play the All Blacks and we stayed in Aix-en-Provence. For us, Stade de Marseille was a mythical soccer stadium. We got lost. The bus couldn't find the stadium - we arrived half an hour before kick-off. We got off and walked into a Société Générale convention. 


"They were happy, but there was only half an hour to go. We changed on the bus and went into the changing room a quarter of an hour before kick-off. And as we had no time to warm up, we decided to take it easy and walk around the pitch. There was so much fervour that we just went around and we were ready. After 15 minutes, we led 17-0."


On the ‘demotion’ of Gabin Villière:


"Please, be careful with the vocabulary. There's healthy competition in this group, we need everyone and all players are important. We don't use that word."


On Jonathan Danty:


"Jonathan Danty is a player, a personality he's created for himself. He has created himself in our team. You can't compare our team with others. We've had four years of battle, challenge and chaos. I can't fit him into one player profile. He's capable of responding to a number of situations, not just in attack, but also in defence, in playing with the ball. And in his personality. That's important too."


On the return of players from injury:

"Past matches are past. We need to look ahead to the next match. Each individual will bring his own profile. There are also some absences. Greg [Alldritt] was in the starting line-up, but François [Cros] returned. We have to adapt. That's the word, that's the theory."


On the start of the Rugby World Cup:

"This is not a competition like the Six Nations, or a November or summer tour. It's a separate competition. Each team has played two matches. We can't learn anything from the qualification phase. We're going to see what happens in decisive matches like ours against the All Blacks. We played a World Cup final. With South Africa and Ireland [who play on Saturday], there will be another World Cup final. 


"In the quarters, you'll have more World Cup finals, then in the semi-finals two World Cup finals and another World Cup final. When the world's top four meet, that's two World Cup finals. In a global study, you have to take into account the ranking of the teams and the stakes involved."


Anthony Jelonch, back-row


On his return to action:

"Last week, I was stressed. It was my comeback [from a knee injury]. I didn’t know what kind of shape I was in. But since the first match, I've felt better. I feel like I’ve turned a corner this week and I'm ready for this match.


"Personally, it was very important to get back into the swing of things. The training sessions have been good. As far as the group is concerned, it’s the same: the guys can't go a month without playing. Everyone’s ready for a big battle."


On the gap between the matches against Namibia and Italy on 6 October:


"We’ve got the game on Thursday and then we’ve got a three-day weekend where we can do what we want. Then we’ll have to prepare for the match against Italy."

On dressing-room tensions after the Uruguay match:


"There was some frustration. We debriefed the match and talked about it. We had to move on quickly. I'm sure things will go well on Thursday."


Thomas Ramos, full-back


On being a football fan playing at Stade de Marseille:

"I’m not necessarily an Olympique de Marseille fan. I've played there twice, once with Toulouse and once with France. It was a very special atmosphere. 


"I remember the match against South Africa, where you couldn't hear anyone who was two metres away because it was so noisy. 


"It's a change from the Stade de France. Here, we're really close to the fans. We can't wait to play here again. The stadium is magnificent and the atmosphere is incredible. We're determined to play a good game."


On the return of players from injury:


"These are important players who have been with this squad for four years. It's good to see the guys back from injury, whether it's Anthony [Jelonch], Jonathan [Danty], or Cyril [Baille]. We're happy to see the guys back in the group. It means we can keep working at 33.


On confidence ahead of the match:


"Above all, we want to enjoy it, while paying due respect to Namibia. We want to score points and tries, but that will come through respecting our game and each other. We have to be patient - even if they're a weaker team on paper - we're not going to win by giving the ball away. We also want to improve our attacking systems. That’s our target for the match."


On pressure from the staff for the match:


"No more than usual. We're in an environment where we sometimes use words that don't mean what we think, and sometimes we take it as a joke. You've got to play it down rather than take it so seriously that it creates a buzz.


"Besides, we like it when Fabien gets tense from time to time."

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