RUGBY. French team. Are the Blues really playing less than before?

It is an understatement to say that Thibault Giroud is one of the strong men of the Blues. The 48-year-old man, a former top athlete, works closely with Fabien Galthié and the men “in the field” in order to be as precise as possible regarding the health, recovery and preparation of the players. In this sense, “Galette” does not make its choices thanks to the work of the physical trainer of the Blues, but rather hand in hand with the latter. This is how for the looming tour of Japan, the performance director explained via L’Equipe:

Last year, in Australia, we had already made the choice to let around twenty premium players rest. One year from the World Cup, it makes even more sense. We had set a bar at 2000 minutes played for bonuses. To this must be added sores, a lack of freshness at the end of the season. There aren’t many opportunities anymore to leave the players alone, so that they can heal, regain mental freshness and above all have a good pre-season with their clubs. To take these players was to accumulate problems for the future, for the November tour, the Tournament then, etc. We are too close to the World Cup to take this risk. And those who are there satisfying them, they have earned their place.

Quésaco, exactly, these 2000 minutes? Well according to the performance specialists in our sport and in accordance with the expectations of the staff in their players, this is the threshold of playing time that a boy must avoid exceeding in order to limit the risk of injury or fatigue. chronicle. Of course, this is only an indicator, but in any case, all the so-called “premium” players who have exceeded it will not be traveling to Asia this summer. For example, Romain Ntamack (32 matches, 2380 min), Antoine Dupont (30 matches, 2080 min), Greg Alldritt (30 matches, 2180 min) or Anthony Jelonch (30 matches, 2005 min) are already on holiday. When other boys who are also in high demand for their position, such as Cyril Baille (31 games) or Uini Atonio (33 games at 146kg and with a knee in the glove box!) also stay at home.

XV of France. Le Garrec, Luc… Which players can score points this summer?However, does playing time explain everything? And is the XV of France doing better today – among other things – because its members play less than in the past? We’ll stop you right away: the answer is a big NO. Already because as Giroud points out between the lines, (many) other factors must be taken into account in the evaluation of his choices, such as that of latent injuries or lack of freshness, physical as well as mental… In this sense , some executives being well below 2000 minutes this season were still not part of the group that flew to Japan on Wednesday. Who ? Pell-mix, we will mention Julien Marchand, Jonathan Danty or Gaël Fickou, not to mention the injured Paul Willemse, Gabin Villière or François Cros.

Less playing time? No. A better price in mind? Yes.

For the rest, it should be noted that today the boys play each other no less than yesterday. And despite the agreement that unites all the characteristics of French rugby in order to fully mobilize in favor of the XV of France in view of the 2023 World Cup, the overloaded calendars remain the same. Despite the “protection” of the famous premium players over the periods established by the agreement, many executives remain subject to the 30 games played per season (see above). Hardly less than the old cadors of the PSA era, Novès or Brunel, who were only very rarely beyond this famous limit, like captain Guirado in 2015/2016, and his 35 games played (in CDM year), for 31 starts. Or “King” Louis Picamoles the following season, who during his year spent in England, played 31 games in total, for 30 starts. Ditto for our national Mathieu Bastareaud in 2017/2018, aligned 30 times during this season where he finds the Blues, for 27 tenures.

TRANSFER.  TOP 14. Mathieu Bastareaud, future 3rd line of the RCT?TRANSFER. TOP 14. Mathieu Bastareaud, future 3rd line of the RCT?At the time of doing the accounts, it is therefore clear that on this point, the difference between yesterday and today lies in the support of the players. Agree on the competence, complementarity and science of detail of the current staff. Who now has the necessary perspective, intelligence and leeway can, for example, spare the majority of their executives on summer tours decided as “new incubators” rather than crash tests. What if that was professionalism?

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