Rugby: the XV of France extricates itself in extremis from the claws of South Africa

Rugby is a combat sport. If some were tempted to forget it, there is a team that takes care of remembering it: South Africa. In all places equal to itself, imposing confrontation and physical challenge again and again. It came close to triumphing, this South African world champion, proud and fierce as usual, this Saturday, November 12 at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.

Except that opposite stood a XV of France who learns to get out of all situations, to bend without breaking and to carry the thrust when all seems lost. The Blues therefore reversed a very compromised situation to win in the end 30-26 and offer themselves a twelfth consecutive victory at the end of a crazy match.

Blues passed through the rolling mill

The battle was announced. Before the meeting, the tricolor coach Fabien Galthié had summarized the qualities of these South Africans that the Blues had not managed to beat since 2009. “In their culture, they have this: intensity. It’s a team that likes to move forward, which must move forward, whatever happens, with or without the ball, with a defense that throws itself at the opponent, harasses him, grabs him by the throat. » And from the outset things happened exactly that way. South Africans in rolling mode. And Blues who collect and respond.

But the characteristic of great matches is not to be satisfied with ready-made explanations. And the least we can say is that the game began to write a rather upsetting scenario. Springboks reduced to 14 after the expulsion of one of their player who was a little too furious, the Blues in excess who seemed to be in control at first but who soon gave in to the redoubled assaults of South Africans as if galvanized. Consequence: concussions in spades, and an XV of France which arrives at half-time having already emptied two thirds of its bench of substitutes.

Antoine Dupont expelled

What happens next doesn’t help. At the very beginning of the second half, an excess of commitment from captain Antoine Dupont forced the referee to show a red card, restoring the balance on the lawn: 14 against 14. The Springboks added more, advanced on all impacts and finished by taking the score. The case for the Blues is badly off, until the entry of the last substitutes, the revolt sounded in the last minutes and an unexpected test which changes the situation in extremis.

Like a week earlier when a final try by Damian Penaud offered a victory over the gong to the Blues against Australia? Not quite. Against the Wallabies, it was an individual feat that tipped the balance on the right side (30-29). Against the Springboks, it was the collective solidarity and the contribution of the finishers who immediately entered the right tempo that made it possible to win the bet. Probably not in the prettiest of ways, but with character.

“It was a bit of a war on the pitch”

“All the players went for this victory. They refused defeat. We felt it at some point. She was prowling there, she was in the stadium. We saw her, but the players refused her. At what price ! », commented Fabien Galthié after the meeting. In fact, the Blues pay dearly for their exemplary resistance. During the shock leading to the first expulsion, the center Jonathan Danty suffered a fracture of the orbital floor. The prop Cyril Baille will have to undergo minor surgery for a hernia in the groin. The second line Thibaud Flament suffers from a concussion. “I have never experienced such enormous intensity. It was a bit of a war on the pitch.”underlined the second line of the Blues Cameron Woki.

The three injured players, like Antoine Dupont sanctioned, will be absent from the last test match of this autumn tour against Japan in Toulouse on November 20. “There are positives tonight”, however wanted to retain the captain of the Blues. The victory, in fact, yet another. The ability to react, again, to get out of a bad situation. But that was hanging by a thread and the Blues also suffered a lot without being able to impose their game. It is not impossible that they will meet the Springboks in the quarter-finals of the World Cup next September. It’s not the happiest of prospects.



China: 21 dead in ultra-long distance race hit by extreme weather

Twenty-one people died among the participants of a 100 km race Saturday, May 22 in the mountains in northwestern China, under the sudden effect of severe weather conditions.

All the other competitors are safe and sound, since “At 3 o’clock in the morning Sunday [23 mai], 151 participants [étaient] safe “, according to the official China news agency. A total of 172 people took part in the race taking place in the Stone Forest of the Yellow River, near the town of Baiyin, in the province of Gansu (northwest of the country).

A runner who was reported missing was found at 9:30 a.m. local time, but “Had already lost his life”, noted the CCTV television channel, citing the local first aid center. “This implies that this incident killed 21 people in total”, CCTV added.

Two dead national figures

Among these victims are two national figures of the marathon, Liang Jing and Huang Guanjun, said the local press, relying on the testimonies of the trainer of the first, Wei Pulong, and a friend of the second, who has said he had confirmation of Huang’s death from the organizers of the event.

Liang Jing had won several multi-marathons in China in recent years. Huang Guanjun, who was deaf and mute, won the men’s marathon for the hearing impaired at the 2019 National Paralympic Games in Tianjin.

Eight participants were treated in hospital for minor injuries, said the mayor of Baiyin, Zhang Xuchen. New China reported that some competitors were suffering from hypothermia.

“Disastrous” weather conditions

“Around noon, the high altitude stretch of the 20 to 31 kilometer race was suddenly affected by dire weather conditions. In no time, hailstones and freezing rain suddenly fell in this area, and there were strong winds. The temperature has dropped sharply ”, Zhang Xuchen said.

Shortly after receiving calls for help from some participants, the marathon organizers dispatched a rescue team that managed to save 18 participants, according to the city councilor. At around 2 p.m., weather conditions worsened and the race was canceled, as local authorities sent more aid to the scene.

→ IN FRANCE. In Chamonix, ultra-trail unleashes passions

700 rescuers mobilized

In total, more than 700 rescuers were mobilized to search for the missing. Local media footage showed rescue workers in fatigues with headlamps scaling the rocky terrain at night. Ultra-long runners were filmed wrapped in emergency blankets.

“My whole body was soaked, including my shoes and socks. I couldn’t stand up straight because of the wind, I was very afraid of being blown away. The cold has become more and more unbearable ”, said a survivor. “Coming down the mountain, I was already experiencing symptoms of hypothermia. “

Temperatures fell further overnight, making rescue and research even more difficult, according to New China.