In Japan with the XV de France: a look back at the 2019 Rugby World Cup

Rugby has codes and traditions dear to the Altrad group; that's why we are involved in this sport as a sponsor of France Rugby. Conviviality, respect, humility, courage and solidarity, all values that we wish to bring to the credit of this sport.

On the 20th September, the Rugby World Cup kicked off in Tokyo, as it was in Japan, where the 20 international teams would compete in this exceptional tournament.

On the way to Japan

Rugby is one of the major sports in Japan: the country is sixth in the world for the number of licensees, and those who are also called "Cherry Blossoms" (the national team) are considered the best Asian nation.

As a major sponsor of the XV of France, we went to the World Cup to support our team. This year, the pool of which France was a part brought together England, Argentina, the United States and Tonga. Only the top two could qualify for the quarterfinals, a fight that promised to be tough.

On September 21st, the XV de France crossed for the first time the lawn of the stadium of Yokohama and began its competition against Argentina. Victory to France 23-21.

The second game of “les Bleus” was played against the USA; once again, the French team won, 33-09 this time. The qualification for the quarterfinals was getting closer and closer, especially as the Argentineans had lost to England ...

Against Tonga, on October 6, “les Bleus” confirmed their qualification to the quarter finals with a score of 23 to 21.

Another game to play: it would be against England, October 12th. Unfortunately, the typhoon Hagibis (having caused at least 70 deaths and 210 wounded) fell on Japan, and the "crunch" was canceled. Moreover, the matches that followed the typhoon would begin with a minutes silence to pay tribute to the victims of the tragedy.

As the match between France and England could not be played, World Rugby announced a 'draw', the two teams thus taking 2 points. France were second in the pool with 14 points, behind England with 16.

The XV de France would face Wales in the quarter-finals on 20th October.

A high paced quarter final

The atmosphere within the stadium was electric, a mix between excitement and apprehension; we watched the supporters of both teams celebrate rugby. As sponsors, but above all, as fans, we were wholeheartedly with “les Bleus” and dreamed of seeing them come out victorious after the 80 minutes.

The match started very well for the French, the players were showing excellent promise ... But in the second half, following an inexcusable foul in the scrum (punished with a red card), our team was reduced to 14 players; the competition was now unbalanced.

And, logically, the final whistle has destroyed the hopes of a whole nation. The Welsh won by 20 to 19. The adventure in Japan stopped that day for the French team.

A future full of hope ...

Thank you “les Bleus”! We believed in it and we lived it with you. One team, one nation.

The XV de France gave us an intense rugby game with a lot of hope for the years to come.

The Altrad group is proud to sponsor the XV of France and France Rugby.

Four teams are still in the race; only one of them will be crowned world champion: among England, New Zealand, Wales and South Africa. Who do you think will bring the cup back home?

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