“How does it feel to come back to Stade France, seven months after winning the Six Nations and the Grand Slam?
It’s always important for us to come back here. We left him seven months ago now with incredible memories and we find him in another context, but still with as much joy and concentration.
What does Australia, your future opponent, which remains on a narrow victory in Scotland (15-16) ?
These Australians have been playing together for a few months now, they have acquired a lot of instincts and know their rugby well. We also know the difficulty of winning in Edinburgh. It was a tough, contested match, and as it happens to them regularly, they were outscored but did not give up to finally win. We know with what intentions they come here.
How do you experience your confirmed status as captain, and what are your exchanges with Charles Ollivon, who assumed this responsibility at the start of the Galthié era?
I live it normally, rather well. I repeat, I am not alone in this group. Since Charles returned, he remains a leader in his own right, as can Greg too. (Alldritt)Gael (Fickoo) or Julian (Merchant). We exchange freely on all aspects, it’s going very well.
How do you also apprehend the media enthusiasm that this charge arouses?
My role on the field already led me to be a game leader. The role of captain was not an additional burden. It’s an important role, obviously, but even if it’s me who has this status, I repeat that I am not the only leader of this group. We are a lot to exchange, to talk. It’s not me who speaks all week in the group, and fortunately. I am well supported.
“It’s not me who speaks all week in the group, and fortunately”
Did you work especially on the end of the match to precisely thwart the bursts of the Wallabies in the money-time?
This is what is often done in international matches. These are always very close matches that are played out in detail and often in the last minutes. We have experienced this several times at our expense, so it is something that we have already been working on for some time. We try to set up different scenarios, we have to prepare for all the options at the end of the matches.
Antoine Dupont in the middle of Grégory Alldritt and Matthis Lebel, in training on Thursday. (B. Paquot/The Team)
How do you view Nic White, your Australian counterpart?
He is a very experienced player who has more than 50 caps, who has experienced a lot with Australia, he is a very important element of this team. We also met him when he came to play in Montpellier, he is a player who takes a lot of responsibility on the pitch, who is very comfortable technically, who can be a danger for us. He will be watched.
Seven Toulousains will be present on the lawn of the Stade de France at kick-off. A boon for you?
It’s always a plus to get to know the players you have next to you on the pitch. There are the people of Toulouse, but even with the others we have known each other for several seasons, we work together, we know the project perfectly. Of course it helps then in the field to find automatisms.
“I don’t think we need to revolutionize our game. We definitely feel the event is coming fast”
Has the countdown to less than a year to the World Cup already begun?
We have to continue what we have been doing since the beginning of Fabien’s era (Galthie) and its staff. So far it has worked well. Today, I don’t think we need to revolutionize our game. We definitely feel that the event is fast approaching. There are a lot of expectations, but we have to be patient and continue to grow together.
How do we prepare to face Australian second-line Will Skelton, even if he will be on the bench at kick-off?
We are starting to know him, because we have already faced him several times with La Rochelle. I hope it will be more forwards than me who will face him tomorrow (Saturday). He also likes to catch the scrum-half around the rucks… We know the physical power he can have on the field, he will come in during the match and we know why they put him on the bench.
Despite ten victories in a row, you still don’t seem satisfied…
Yes. Having won so much just gave us confidence and the desire to continue doing what we do. We know that when you start to reach the highest level, the hardest part is to stay there. We will be more expected, but the desire and the ”gnaque” of the group may even have increased compared to the Tournament. Afterwards, it must be transcribed on the ground. »