Vlok and French have 2027 in their sights

Henry

Vlok Cilliers will remain part of the Roosters’ rugby setup for a few more years after signing a contract that will keep him in France until 2027.

For the 55-year-old kicking coach, who played for the Springboks against the All Blacks at Kingspark in 1996, this offers the opportunity to grow in his role.

“As a coach, of course I want to improve and learn more about the game. But the most important thing is to make France the world champion team,” Cilliers told RNews.

The Springboks broke French hearts at the Stade de France last year when they won the World Cup quarter-final 29–28.

Fabien Galthié, the Roosters’ head coach, said after the defeat that the result will haunt him and his players for a long time.

“I agree with him that the defeat left a psychological scar. It will get better, but it’s something that will never completely go away.”

Can France lift the Webb Ellis Trophy in Australia in 2027?

“For sure. I think we’ve improved over the last four years and our winning percentage is definitely up. We can only get stronger and gain more experience.”

France play Ireland in their opening match of the Six Nations at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on Friday night.

However, the Roosters will be without the services of their talisman player, Antoine Dupont. The talented scrumhalf has been persuaded to win an Olympic gold medal with the French sevens team these days.

Needless to say, Dupont will be missed, but Cilliers believes that France has enough rugby talent to remain a Six Nations power.

“We don’t just focus on one player. Yes, Antoine is a very good player, but other stars such as Romain Ntamack and Anthony Jelonch are also on the crutch list.

“The talent pool in France is incredibly large and there are very skilled players in every position.”

Cilliers will, as usual, keep a watchful eye on stars such as Thomas Ramos and Matthieu Jalibert’s kicking skills.

And can he already speak French fluently?

“At least it gets better every time and I can speak more. I learn a lot more when I’m with the team.”

But a ball that is driven purely over the crossbar understands any language, doesn’t it?

France’s Six Nations group:

Forwards: Esteban Abadie, Dorain Aldegheri, Gregory Alldritt (captain), Uini Atonio, Cyril Baille, Gaetan Barlot, Paul Boudehent, Francois Cros, Paul Gabrillagues, Matthias Halagahu, Anthony Jelonch, Thomas Laclayat, Julien Marchand, Peato Mauvaka, Emmanuel Meafou, Charles Ollivon, Romain Taofifenua, Sebastien Taofifenua, Reda Wardi and Cameron Woki.

Backs: Louis Bielle-Biarrey, Jonathan Danty, Nicolas Depoortere, Gael Fickou, Emilien Gailleton, Antoine Gibert, Matthieu Jalibert, Melvyn Jaminet, Nolan le Garrec, Matthis Lebel, Maxime Lucu, Yoram Moefana, Damian Penaud and Thomas Ramos.

Terms:

February 2: France v Ireland at the Stade Velodrome

February 10: France v Scotland at Murrayfield

February 25: France v Italy at the Stade Pierre Mauroy

March 10: France v Wales at the Principality Stadium

March 16: France v England at the Parc OL