XV of France – William Servat: “I salute the character of the players”

XV of France – William Servat: “I salute the character of the players”
XV of France – William Servat: “I salute the character of the players”

Victorious over Uruguay (43-28), the coach of the French forwards William Servat was particularly satisfied with the state of mind displayed by his troops after the terrible week they have just been through, while paying a warm tribute to the Lou pillar Sébastien Taofifenua, who agreed to help out in the suffering position of right pillar in order to preserve Demba Bamba with a view to the second test.

How did the team approach this match in Uruguay, after the events that made this week very complicated internally?

This match had to be played. It gave almost the entire group the opportunity to play, and the players did more than respond because this Uruguay team had given us a hard time during the World Cup. The context was different, but we knew despite everything that this team would remain difficult to maneuver and we must salute the character of all the players who approached this match without asking themselves any questions, in a form of control since they ensured the victory quite early.

You personally brought food to Oscar Jegou and Hugo Auradou in their jail in Buenos Aires. Knowing your closeness to the players, these moments must be particularly difficult for you…

When you train people, you create a relationship with them, and it’s always difficult to see people in this situation. Today, we are waiting, justice is doing its duty. It’s up to us to help it do its job well, to transmit the information that is requested of us. We are at their service.

What happened after your victory in Mendoza?

On Saturday night, like after a rugby match, the team shared a moment together at the hotel, we ate together, then a form of freedom was given to everyone, which seems normal to me at the end of a very long season. What happened next, you know, is very painful and very touching. It is complicated, even if we can only condemn bad acts.

To get back to current events, you had a scare with the early injury of Thomas Laclayat, which forced you to bring Demba Bamba on early and then bring him back out at the end of the match in preparation for the next test, which had a big impact in the scrum…

When we go on tour, it’s for a certain period of time, we’re far from our lands, we share a lot of things… In these conditions, it’s never easy to see someone like Thomas come out (cartilage intercostal, NDLR) Demba Bamba came back early in his place and performed well, but we also had to prepare for Saturday’s match against a tougher opposition where we will need a consistent match sheet. It was therefore important for us to bring him out before the end, while asking a big sacrifice from Sébastien Taofifenua, for whom I bear responsibility. I want to salute him, because he accepted to put himself through the pain for the team, and he accepted it without discussion or question. That, we must salute him. And everything that happened in the last part of the match, I take responsibility for.

The entrance of Posolo Tuilagi, author of a double in three minutes, was resounding. He did everything he wanted…

(he cuts) He doesn’t do what he wants, no! (smile) He is participating in a project, at the height of his abilities. He has been exactly the player we know, that we want to see, so we are very happy and reassured. From time to time, we have players capable of doing incredible things, and he took over today. On a field, some work so that others create differences, he benefited from it today, and we cannot say that he had the time or the need to make one more pass.

What exactly did you take away from this match in your preparation for the next one?

Tonight’s performance was important because we have a new balance to find. It will have been a day rich in lessons with the performances of our players, we will have a discussion as soon as we return to Buenos Aires with Patrick Arlettaz who stayed to train the framework of the first match. We already have a form of orientation to prepare well for this match, but nothing is definitive. When we see the involvement that the players had to face Uruguay, we can in any case only prepare this second test with a lot of conviction.

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