'Heavy score in our favour' says Galthie
REACTION: Les Blues coach Fabien Galthie said his team was caught up by the atmosphere in the Stade de France stadium but he was proud of how his side disposed of the highly rated All Blacks in the World Cup opener on Friday night.
The match was vital for both teams in the first few weeks of the tournament. The other teams that make up Pool A – Italy, Uruguay, and Namibia – are not expected to threaten either France or New Zealand in the games to come.
“It was important to get off to a good start after all the work we’ve put in preparing for this match. We were under a lot of pressure in the first half, and we found it hard to break free,” Galthie to the media during the post-match press conference.
“They scored very early, rather easily. Then we lost Julien Marchand. We started the match in the worst possible way – but that’s all part of the game.
“We got a bit caught up in the atmosphere. But we went into the dressing room in front, thanks to our discipline.
“Then in the second half, our finishers enabled us to regain control of the match, but not immediately. Again, they scored from our mistakes when we could have done better.
“But we won the arm-wrestle. That enabled us to keep in touch with New Zealand, particularly in our weaker moments, and then meant we regained control of the second half, and also meant Thomas Ramos could keep us in touch with his kicking.”
“At the end of the day, it’s a heavy score in our favour.
“We didn’t expect this atmosphere. It was very tense, even in the stands. We’re not used to this kind of atmosphere.”
Gregory Alldritt, the Player of the Match, said it was a very tough game and talked about the intense heat which made handling at times very difficult.
“Really, really tough game. We were expecting really hard opposition and it was a massive game for the team today and I’m proud to be French tonight,” Alldritt said.
“I said before the game the one who was going to win was the one who was going to play for 80 minutes, and I think we played well for 80 minutes. It’s a great night for us.”
“It was really, really hot.”
Captain Antoine Dupont said his side had trouble getting into the game.
“It was a bit of an up-and-down game, we had trouble getting into it, maybe because of the pressure of the opening match, at home etc.
“The All Blacks put us under a lot of pressure at the rucks. We stayed calm and worked hard throughout the match and, above all, finished well,” Dupont said.
“For the time being, we’re just going to enjoy [the win] and recover from this match. After that, we’ll look ahead to the match against Uruguay, which is coming up fast, with a high-performance, physical player at scrum-half [Santiago Arata].
“He shows it every weekend in the Top 14. He’ll obviously be one to watch. We saw him blossom at the last World Cup and since then he’s never stopped improving.”
“It made the ball slippery – even New Zealand made several handling errors. Obviously, playing in 30-degree temperatures in a stadium like the Stade de France, where there’s not much air, it’s not easy.
“We felt it as soon as we warmed up: you sweat a lot, you feel a bit heavier, it’s harder to accelerate. We saw a few players suffering from cramp. But the conditions were the same for both teams.”