” In what state of mind are you three days away from facing the South African world champions (Saturday, 9 p.m.)?
There is impatience. It’s the second game in a series that we got off to a pretty good start (victory v Australia, 30-29). From the start of the preparation, we knew that this match against the Springboks was waiting for us. Now we can’t wait to be there.
Playing the Boks is like going to the developer when you play in front?
Yes, it is a test match. It’s a selection that we haven’t faced for a long time (summer 2018). It’s good to confront all the nations of the world chessboard to know where you are exactly. Challenging the Boks is also a “step up” in terms of commitment, intensity and combat. It’s really going to screw up. We have already seen it against Ireland, last weekend (loss 19-16), where it was really very involved. We expect a lot of aggression. We are aware of this, so we are preparing to respond to this.
“For several years, the South African second lines have been a benchmark for this position”
How do you view the South African second line?
For several years, they have been the benchmarks for this position. Not only because of the fight they inflict on their opponents, but also because they are very skilled technically. I am thinking, for example, of an after-contact pass from Eben Etzebeth against Ireland, which was magnificent. They are very complete, physically impressive second rows.
You played in 5 against Australia, whereas you are more used to playing in 4. You didn’t seem particularly embarrassed…
No, I feel good in this position of 5, even if the work is different. I like having this versatility in the second row and in the third row. I enjoy it.
What is the difference between playing 4 and playing 5?
In general, the 4 is more mobile, more athletic, lighter, plays more ball. While the 5 is in theory heavier and beefier. He’s more there to break down the mauls, put impact in the rucks. It’s a little different job.
Playing a match at the Vélodrome, what does it change?
It is a legendary stadium. I’ve already played there with Stade Toulousain against Toulon in the Top 14. It’s a special atmosphere, a unique stadium. We know that it is an audience that shows up a lot in football. It can help us in the last ten minutes. It might even make a difference. »