2017 AFL International Cup
10th Place – Men’s Division 1
BY EDWARD BOURKE
France fought valiantly throughout their entire IC17 campaign, but were unable to record a victory against their tough and experienced Division 1 opponents. Relentless defensive pressure was the hallmark of Les Coqs’ playing style during the tournament and this meant that their opponents were rarely comfortable despite the scorecards suggesting otherwise.
World Team member Julien Dagois and fellow midfielder Clement Bouchet led the strong tackling efforts of the French side, and were well-supported by others including Nicholas Boché and Benoit Treuillet. France’s defence were under siege for much of the tournament but performed admirably, with key defenders Sylvain Maylie, Fabian Floch and Pierre Lechasles excellent at cutting off opposition attacks in the air.
Anthony Bernad and Sam Rat were often undersized against their opponents but also took some excellent intercept marks, while Mathieu Ostorero provided strong rebound from defence. Thomas Depondt was sensational in the ruck for the duration of IC17, leading from the front, while France’s forward line functioned superbly considering their limited opportunities to score.
Pierre Boscart and Vincent Monnier provided excellent targets, impressing France Coach Andrew Unsworth with their consistent presenting, working well with dynamic medium forwards Jérémy Sardin and Ludo Barrat. France’s ball use also improved as the tournament went on, with Pierre Napoleon and Cyrille Gandolfo noted for their precision kicking and decision-making.
The French side are likely to improve significantly before the next International Cup, with 12 players from this campaign to still be under 30 years old for the 2020 instalment.
Despite the taxing run of losses, the chance to play some of the strongest teams in Division 1- including 3rd placed Ireland and 4th placed USA- would have presented a valuable learning opportunity for Les Coqs, and a French side that brings the same passion and intensity to their next international tournament could achieve great things.
Round 1 – France 2.3.(15) defeated by Fiji 10.20.(80) at Royal Park
Round 2 – France 2.3.(15) defeated by Ireland 11.13.(79) at St Patrick’s College
Round 3 – France 2.2.(14) defeated by Nauru 15.16.(106) at Victoria Park
Semi Finals – France 3.1.(19) defeated by USA 19.18.(132) at Royal Park
Finals – France 3.3.(21) defeated by South Africa 7.9.(51) at Royal Park
Ludo Barrat, Pierre Boscart and Jeremy Sardin lead the Coq’s goal kickers with three goals each, followed by Nicholas Boche, Jacob Raiwalui, and Benoit Treuillet with one goal each for IC17.
Best on Ground for IC17:
Julien Dagois, Jeremy Sardin, Pierre Lechasles, Thomas Depondt, Anthony Bernard, and Clement Bouchet.
World Team Selection:
Julien Dagois (Interchange)