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'We have to see what went wrong': France's discipline under the spotlight

REACTION: After an impressive tournament-opening win over New Zealand last week many thought Fabien Galthie’s France would have no problems against Uruguay in their second World Cup fixture.

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Instead the 27-12 victory for the hosts in Lille on Thursday left the head coach facing questions.

The former scrumhalf had made wholesale to his starting line-up from the victory against the All Blacks.

Yet the new combinations failed to click and the former France skipper is likely to return to a more settled side against Namibia next Thursday.

“We’ve got something to work on with a squad preparing for the third match in Marseille,” Galthie said.

“A World Cup is a long-term adventure, each match is a test.

“A match like Uruguay strengthens the team, making them better and stronger for the match in Marseille in a week,” he added.

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Galthie has said in the past he wants the penalty count to be no more than 12 per match and has brought in former Test referee Jerome Garces as part of his coaching staff to try to educate the players.

It didn’t work against the combative Uruguayans though, as France gave away 15 penalties, four more than they did in the tournament opener against the All Blacks.

“It’s part of what we’ll work on. They made us concede penalties,” centre Arthur Vincent said.

“We have to see what went wrong. It’s part of the frustrations,” he added.

Danty ready

There was positive news for Galthie on the injury front as Anthony Jelonch, the captain for the game in place of the rested Antoine Dupont, came through 50 minutes unscathed in his first appearance since February.

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Cyril Baille, considered by Galthie’s coaches as the best tighthead prop in the world, could also feature against Namibia after recovering from a calf issue that kept him out of the opening match.

Bull-dozing centre Jonathan Danty is set to be back too after recovering from a hamstring issue and will compete with Yoram Moefana and Vincent for the No.12 shirt inside the experienced Gael Fickou.

“He’s at 100 percent,” Vincent said of Danty.

“It’s really beneficial for the squad. We were there to have good competition for places, it makes us all better.

“For the team it’s really good,” he added.

Expectation around Galthie’s squad is high across the country with almost 50,000 present for the Uruguay win in a stadium located in a city closer to the Belgian border than one that hosts a professional rugby club.

Despite the nationwide enthusiasm, the sluggish performance will do little to maintain the support for Les Bleus, and their quest to win a World Cup for the first time.

A victory in front of a raucous Marseille crowd next week would strengthen that backing before their final Pool A game against Italy on October 6.

Beating the Azzurri would guarantee France top spot in the group before a quarterfinal, most likely against reigning champions South Africa, Ireland or Scotland.

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