Not really happy but not really worried. The coach of the Blues Fabien Galthié appeared at a press conference, aware of the shortcomings shown by his team, victorious in the difficulty of Italy in Rome (24-29), this Sunday, but with the feeling of having preserved the main thing: an away success as an introduction to the Tournament and the offensive bonus.
What do you remember first?
FABIEN GALTHIE. I am both satisfied to have won this match and to have taken the bonus. It was hard. Afterwards, the performance leaves us with a bitter taste.
Do you want your players?
No. Victory is so important at this level whatever the scenario. It’s essential. We have not achieved all our objectives, okay, but we have consistent expectations about our ambition and our ability to evolve. The game requires fault and we have the right not to always be on top. But winning a Tournament match away from home, you have to do it.
What was your speech to the players?
We talked a lot in the locker room after the match. They brought us pizzas and we had a few drinks. We did not put a full stop. It was not the moment. We remained quietly on a moment of conviviality, of recovery. We will have time to come back to this match since we are staying here in Rome until Thursday (Editor’s note: before flying to Ireland that the Blues face on Saturday).
What was the contribution of the substitutes?
They made a very good entrance. In addition, we had taken a yellow card (Charles Ollivon, 52e). Finishers are for that. They are the ones who have the heavy task of finishing the match, and therefore of winning it.
How do you judge the 18 penalties whistled against you?
It’s dangerous. A penalty is a possession for the opponent and, at best, we move back 30 m. The mastery of the rule, on an offensive or defensive level, has failed us and cost us dearly in terms of collective performance.
Your players seemed dull…
We have done a lot of physical work in the last two weeks in training. He had two objectives: to allow him to be as ready as possible here in Rome and then to be able to rebound to be well in Dublin. This even includes the entire duration of the competition because there is not much room for this specific work throughout the Tournament.
How did you find the Irish winners in Wales (10-34)?
Saturday, we saw two great rugby matches. The Irish victory in Cardiff was settled almost in half. The Welsh reacted. It’s interesting for us, tactically. Then afterwards, there was an incredible England – Scotland.