Antoine Dupont said after France’s Stade de France triumph against the All Blacks that the Roosters actually dished out an average game in the World Cup match.
However, his team was still able to pile up almost 30 points against the three-time champion and Vlok Cilliers agrees with the 26-year-old scrumhalf and captain: The French rugby train is still picking up steam.
“We didn’t fire on all cylinders against New Zealand and there is always room for improvement,” the former Springbok player confirmed to RNews from France.
Still, the victory in the opening match of the tournament was a very special experience.
“When France hosted the World Cup in 2007, the team got bogged down in the first match of the tournament against Argentina. It was very important for us to start the campaign well and win for the country and its people.”
Cilliers is in charge of France’s kickers these days and he is satisfied with Thomas Ramos’ performance – after all, they work hard every week to keep the players as accurate and consistent as possible.
The 28-year-old full-back was in the spotlight with a goal kick and five penalties against the All Blacks and he regularly kept the scoreboard going for the home team.
Speaking of kicks – Cilliers was also able to meet French football hero Kylian Mbappé after the match.
“I am very privileged to meet incredible people through my work and it was a dream come true when he visited our dressing rooms. Mbappé is one of the best footballers in the world.”
Rugby fever has really caught fire in France. The stadiums are full and even neutral duels are passionately supported.
But while the bonfires still burn high among the fans, the team’s vision is squarely on World Cup success.
“The next day we already put the All Black win behind us and started preparing for our next game against Uruguay.”
Cilliers has said before that he is part of a special group of French players; a team that was persuaded to hold up the Webb Ellis trophy.
France play Uruguay on Thursday at 21:00 and the match will be broadcast live on SuperSport.