And ten der! The Blues, long jostled, won their tenth game in a row, Saturday in Tokyo, ahead of Japan (20-15), ending the season undefeated, a first in the history of the XV of France. Thanks to tries from Matthis Lebel (9th) and Baptiste Couilloud (71st), the Blues therefore have a tenth victory in a row, setting a record in the modern era.

This is the best French record since a series of ten successes, including eight against Germany, established between 1931 and 1937. Fabien Galthié’s men have not lost since a setback in Australia (33-30), the July 17, 2021. Almost a year later, Argentina (29-20), Georgia (41-15), the All Blacks (40-25), Italy (37-10), Ireland (30 -24), Scotland (36-17), Wales (13-9), England (25-13) and Japan (42-23) in turn came up against the XV of France .

More anecdotally, the Blues win their first summer series since 2006 and a trip to modest Romania (62-14), then to South Africa (36-26). Just over a year from the 2023 World Cup at home and a few months after the Grand Slam, it’s reassuring for Fabien Galthié and his staff. Especially since the Blues on tour at the end of the world had come to Japan without their usual executives, Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Grégory Alldritt or Gaël Fickou, left to rest. But, like a week ago at Toyota, the XV of France was heckled, even downright asphyxiated, by the Brave Blossoms.

More enterprising, more disciplined, the Japanese simply took advantage of the tricolor inaccuracies to take the lead, carried by their will-o’-the-wisp, the rear Ryohei Yamanaka author of two tries (12th, 40th). Nothing seemed to go the French way: scrum-half Maxime Lucu foiled, second row Thomas Jolmès didn’t roar, young full-back Max Spring defended badly at times… Even the French line-up, so overbearing a week ago, seemed below his level. Fortunately, these Blues from the end of the world have also proven that they have resources, like a conquering Thibaud Flament, an omnipresent Damian Penaud, a clever Baptiste Couilloud…

They also had a bit of luck when third row Tevita Tatafu was denied a try five minutes from time by video. “It was rough, very hard: the Japanese gave us a lot of problems. We suffered, they took us to a very high level of requirement. We’ll have to learn from that,” admitted captain Charles Ollivon after the game. Uninspired, undisciplined and clumsy, Ollivon’s teammates spoke about their experience in the second half to snatch a victory without relief. But knowing how to “win lousy” is also the prerogative of champions. This time, the Blues will be satisfied with it.

Thanks to this victory, France will become world N.1 on Monday, a first since the establishment of the ranking in 2003, according to projections by World Rugby, the governing body of world rugby. Fabien Galthié’s men, undefeated this season with ten victories in a row, also a first in the history of the XV of France, will now overtake South Africa, the previous world No.1, beaten by Wales on the thread (13-12). If the world champion Springboks had won, they would have remained at the top of the world rankings.