Rugby-France coach says objective achieved after beating Japan

France left many of their regulars, including World Player of the year Antoine Dupont, at home for their two matches in Japan and in both tests had to fight their way back to ensure victory.
Representative image
Representative image

TOKYO: France achieved their objective in winning their two-test series over Japan by giving test experience to many of their fringe players, coach Fabien Galthie said after Saturday’s narrow 20-15 second test victory in Tokyo. France left many of their regulars, including World Player of the year Antoine Dupont, at home for their two matches in Japan and in both tests had to fight their way back to ensure victory.

“The objective with this team was to win the matches we had on the programme and that we did. That was the important thing for us, the staff. If we take young players on tour with an eye on development, we had to succeed in bringing them to this level of performance and that is why the objective was achieved,” Galthie told reporters after the match. France won the first test in Aichi 42-23 but only after a strong second-half showing, while Saturday’s second test saw the tourists snatch victory some 10 minutes from time and hold on, with some good fortune, as Japan spilled a chance to win near the end

“It was a very difficult match as everyone could see, with a comeback after halftime where we were trailing by eight points," Galthie said. “It was also the first time this season that we were trailing before the break and conceding a try just before the halftime.

“We have a young team and it was interesting to see how they would react. And then in the second half, they did react and score. There are a lot of positive things in the second half that allowed us to win this match.” France host next year’s World Cup and now look forward to tests in November at home against Australia on Nov. 5, world champions South Africa in Marseille on Nov. 12 and Japan in Toulouse.

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