Rugby is not over. A week after the epilogue of the Top 14, this Saturday is the first of its two tests in Japan, a week before the second. The Blues will play in Aichi without, nor the Castres finalists, while executives such as Toulouse Dupont and Ntamack are at rest.
But Fabien Galthié has concocted a fine starting XV despite everything, with 10 Grand Slam winners in the spring and two newcomers: 3rd row Yoan Tanga (Racing 92) and 2nd row Thomas Jolmès (Union Bordeaux-Bègles). Two other UBB players will officiate at the hinge, Maxime Lucu and Matthieu Jalibert, under the leadership of returning captain Charles Ollivon.
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If the current level of the Japanese – affected moreover by several cases of Covid – remains hard to define, the French will have to deal with another adversary: the exceptional humid heat which weighs down the archipelago. Kick-off is scheduled for 3 p.m. (local time) and it could be more than 35 degrees for a humidity level around 70%.
“Because it’s always nice to wake up with rugby, we meet around 7:45 a.m.