Barely settled, already moving. The XV of France has left Rueil and has just arrived in Aix-en-Provence, at the Renaissance hotel, to prepare for its next World Cup match, this Thursday (21 hours) against Namibia at the Velodrome stadium in Marseille. After two first weeks in the Paris region, the Blues will then stay in Aix for more than two weeks, until October 3, three days before their last group match against Italy in Lyon.
For this long competition (8 September-28 October), which began even two months before with preparation courses (in Monaco, Marcoussis and Capbreton), Fabien Galthié and his staff had chosen Rueil-Malmaison as the official "base camp" for the organizers. The city of Hauts-de-Seine welcomed the Blues with great pomp on September 2, already in a Renaissance hotel (a 4-star range of the Marriott group).
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So, no more fuss? Not at all: after two short weeks in Rueil, only one training session open to the public at the Stade du Parc, stuck between matches at the Stade de France against New Zealand (27-13) and in Lille against Uruguay (27-12), Dupont and his gang have already left under other Provençal skies. "It's a nice place to work in general at this time. The weather is propitious. We are getting closer to Marseille and Lyon where our next two games take place, "justified this Sunday Laurent Labit, coach of the backs tricolor, before packing his bags for Aix.
The Provençal city was even in contention for a time to be the base camp of the Blues. She had the favors of some of the staff and Fabien Galthié, accustomed to preparations in the south of the France, especially with the Six Nations Tournaments. Finally, if Rueil-Malmaison was officially chosen as a "base camp", Aix-en-Provence gets away with the status of "host city" of the Blues... And such a long duration of reception. A second base camp, in short, at least for the group stage.
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The XV of France will therefore reside until October at the Renaissance Hotel, near the city center, will give its press conferences at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory, across the street, and will train at the Georges-Carcassonne stadium, less than 3 km away. This Monday afternoon, Fabien Galthié and his players carried out their training behind closed doors on a lawn in perfect condition, leaving the doors open for twenty minutes for the media. When they arrived, shortly before 17 p.m., the Habs were greeted by a handful of supporters who then tried to take pictures over the walls. Some of them, mostly kids, even climbed the fences behind the grandstand to see Antoine Dupont and his teammates rehearsing their scales.
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In their hotel, the Blues will have access to all the necessary comfort and will not be disoriented compared to Rueil-Malmaison. They may have to meet some customers since there are still rooms available around 400 euros per night in the establishment. But not enough to disrupt the preparation of Fabien Galthié and his troops. Which, according to the official program, will find Rueil-Malmaison on October 7, the day after the match against Italy. For two nights... Or more.
Because at the end of the group stage, depending on the tables of the quarter-finals, each base camp of the teams is reset. The Blues playing their probable quarter-final whatever happens at the Stade de France, they should keep the favors of their hotel in Hauts-de-Seine, closer to Saint-Denis. Unless Fabien Galthié is again inclined to seek the mild Provençal climate.