Slow in the first half, the XV of France made the difference in the second half to clinch their ninth victory in a row by outclassing Japan, 42 to 23, on Saturday July 2 at Toyota in the first match of the summer tour of the Blues. Fabien Galthié’s men – last beaten in July 2021 by Australia (33-30) – won with five tries from Damian Penaud (3rd, 58th), Matthis Lebel (45th), Yoram Moefana (61st ) and Pierre Bourgarit (68th).
After Argentina (29-20), Georgia (41-15), New Zealand (40-25), Italy (37-10), Ireland (30-24), Scotland ( 36-17), Wales (13-9) and England (25-13), the French therefore extend their series. However, they remain a good distance from the New Zealand leaders (18 victories between August 2015 and October 2016), English (18 victories between October 2015 and March 2017), South African (17 victories between August 1997 and November 1998) or Welsh (14 wins between March 2018 and March 2019).
In the first half, however, the XV of France suffered in difficult climatic conditions: 35°C and 50% humidity. Fortunately, Fabien Galthié’s proteges were much more realistic afterwards.
From now on, the French staff knows that he can count on the power at impact of Thomas Jolmès, on the tries of Damian Penaud (his seventh in nine matches), the game at the foot of Melvyn Jaminet (author of 17 points), the breakthroughs of Yoram Moefana. The returns of captain Charles Ollivon or flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert were not particularly convincing. No more than the first of the third line Yoan Tanga, often penalized. Even the hooker Peato Mauvaka, however preponderant in this positive series with in particular two tries against the All Blacks, seemed a little overwhelmed.
The Blues fell on an enterprising if not efficient team from Japan. Dominated in touch, the Brave Blossoms tried a lot, but little succeeded, conceding fifteen turnovers and ten penalties. In the end, the French beat Japan for the fourth time in five games, their first since the pitiful draw in 2017 (23-23), which cost Guy Novès his place. “They were a very playful team, playing good rugby. We managed to respond: gradually, we took over our opponent, “said coach Fabien Galthié after the meeting.