Antoine Dupont and his team heed the cry of a country and lead France to a 27-13 victory over New Zealand

As a way of thinking, it’s possible that it’s not very Parisian. It’s possible that it’s a little too localized and provincial for the nation’s capital, with a distinct lack of global elegance.

But in the south, in the heartlands of French rugby, there is a thing called l’esprit de clocher, which literally translates to “the spirit of the bell tower.”

It alludes to the need to protect what belongs to oneself, as well as the honor and responsibility associated with winning at one’s own turf.

They have the ability to comprehend it in Castelnau-Magnoac. A little over an hour to the west of Toulouse is the humble hamlet that serves as Antoine Dupont’s birthplace.

There is a club, a pitch, and a ready battalion of locals who will play despite the fact that there is a population of less than 1,000 people there. Friends and relatives will be in the stands, and community pride will be at stake.

Rugby Union Daily presents an audio podcast about how France defeated the All Blacks.
France started off their World Cup campaign with a win against New Zealand.
The vast Stade de France stadium, which is located on the outskirts of Paris and is surrounded by congested ring roads, is a world away from that setting. The renowned bells of Notre Dame Cathedral aren’t able to be heard quite thus far from the city center.

However, exactly when it was most important for them to, Dupont and his team came through for them on Friday night against New Zealand in the first game of the 2023 World Cup. Because there was a moment when it appeared as though this match, which was being played at their house and as part of their tournament, may go on well into the warm evening.

When Mark Telea collected a Beauden Barrett crossfield bomb and strolled in, the All Blacks had already set up a scoring opportunity for themselves against France after only 93 seconds had passed. Throughout the first half, they showed signs of potentially wreaking even more devastation, but they were unable to really do so.

At the end of the first half, the scoreboard revealed one narrative. However, the statistics revealed the reality. France had only managed to carry for 184 meters, whereas New Zealand had carried for 378. France had only 15 victories, whereas New Zealand had 37 victories after crossing the gainline. While New Zealand had defeated 22 defenders, France had only managed to win against three.

The hosts’ 9-8 lead was only maintained because to the consistent kicking of Thomas Ramos and the opportunities that were missed by the hands of the All Blacks.

Within three minutes of the break’s conclusion, even that fig leaf was gone. This is Telea’s second opportunity. New Zealand is currently in the lead and maintaining their momentum. It is evident that France is in risk of wilting under the suffocating heat of thirty degrees and a high-pressure front of popular expectation.

But at this point, the crew has acclimated well. They are accustomed to enduring stormy conditions.

In their last 15 home tests, France has come out on top, a streak that spans over 2.5 years and includes victories against every top-tier side that has visited their stadium. If we go back any further, we see that they have won 24 of their last 25 home Tests, with the sole loss interrupting their record being a defeat to Scotland in March of 2021, which took place behind closed doors.

During that period of time, there have been a few near misses along the way. On rare occasions, the event has appeared to be too monumental to handle.

In 2022, when England was attempting to win the Six Nations Grand Slam for the first time in 12 years, a sluggish first hour allowed a weak England team to be within a converted score of the French until France pulled away.

On Friday, Coach Fabien Galthie observed some of the same things that he noticed on Thursday.

“We were not expecting it to be so tense, even in the stands,” he stated after the game had concluded.”We thought we were ready for that kind of pressure, but it turned out that we were not.”

They may not have been ready, but they were astute enough to make adjustments when necessary.

Champion of the contest As France tightened their tactics and reduced New Zealand’s space and supply of possession, Gregory Alldritt and the hardworking second row Thibaud Flament trucked the ball up on the edges.

The tide turned against them, they were assessed penalties, and points were awarded as a result. The elimination of New Zealand from the competition was hastened by the fact that wing Will Jordan was shown a yellow card for an unnecessary collision with Ramos while the latter was in the air.

Galthie said that their team had prevailed in the arm wrestle.

“This allowed us to keep up with New Zealand, particularly in the times when we were performing less well, and then in the second half, we were able to regain control of the game.”

Galthie did not receive only positive information. After suffering what appeared to be a terrible lower leg injury, his first-choice hooker, Julien Marchand, was forced to limp off the court and may not return to the competition.

However, he has a strong alternative in Peato Mauvaka to step up, Jonathan Danty to return and strengthen up the midfield, and a smooth performance from Mathieu Jalibert to examine. Peato Mauvaka, Jonathan Danty, and Mathieu Jalibert are his options. The fly-half’s turn around Ardie Savea to create an overlap for Damian Penaud’s try was possibly the most beautiful display of talent that either player displayed during the contest.

The pool stage in France is currently being taken on tour throughout the country. After that, on Thursday, Uruguay will compete in Lille, followed by Namibia in Marseille, and ending with Italy in Lyon.

If they are successful in all of those, they will be able to travel to Paris for the quarterfinals with a mountain of momentum and enthusiasm behind them.

Before that match, in this concrete corner of Paris, the arrivals would begin even earlier, the music would be played even louder, and the beer kegs would be stacked even higher. The amount of affection that people in Castelnau-Magnoac and thousands of other such backwaters have for Dupont and his colleagues will increase.

This group has constructed their very own bell tower. It is still possible that it will fall, shattering the hopes and dreams of the French people. However, this will not be accomplished without a ferocious struggle.

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