France – England. François Cros (XV of France): “We learned lessons from the quarter-final of the World Cup”

Once again brimming with activity and impeccable in the fight against England, the third row of Stade Toulouse appreciated the character displayed by his team throughout the competition and in particular in this match, which definitely allowed him to to chase away the specter of defeat against the South Africans in the World Cup.

What feeling does you have after this Crunch won in the last minutes?

(he smiles) It’s a good thing to do, in a match which could have escaped us at the start of the second half. It’s good to have shown this character even if we could have avoided this kind of scenario by not conceding this try just before half-time, and started the second better.

Wasn’t this strength of character ultimately your trademark, in this match as throughout the competition?

Of course. We missed the start of the Tournament and, as big boys, we knew we had to react. We did it by winning twice away. Unfortunately, the draw against Italy between these two matches interrupted our momentum, which is why it was all the more important to finish well against England who, after a very good Tournament, was moved to take it home. Clearly, this success and that in Wales are promising for the future. Young players have come to integrate into our system, we can only regret our poor start in view of the Irish defeat against England. But what is good is our desire not to give up, whether in this match or in the entire Tournament.

François Cros played 30 minutes in the quarter-final against South Africa.

François Cros played 30 minutes in the quarter-final against South Africa.
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In the end, is this 2024 Tournament a success, or a failure, with a fourth second place out of the five Tournaments of the Galthié era?

We cannot be satisfied with second place. It’s a shame, given our qualities and what we are capable of producing, to finish in this position in a Tournament with three receptions. We are not satisfied, but we are at least happy to have beaten the English. (he sighs) There was a lot of turnover within the staff after the World Cup, it took us time to become comfortable in our new systems, a little longer than we hoped. But we are happy to finish this Tournament well. There was a lot of pressure on us. Not everything was perfect, but I still really liked the attitude and character of the team.

In many ways this match was similar to the quarter-final against South Africa. Was this memory useful to you?

Yes of course. It was a very strategic match, with a lot of kicking and aerial duels. No doubt they had analyzed the quarter-final and wanted to use these patterns, with a big defense and a lot of pressure under high balls. But for our part, we also knew how to use this quarter-final so as not to panic, to resolve two or three things at half-time: avoid hitting them at home, engage well under receptions… In We managed to learn the lessons from this quarter-final and reverse the trend.

We’re going to stop talking to you about it from now on…

Yes, we need to turn the page. This World Cup is over, it’s far away, we now have to move forward and stop looking back.

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