In the absence of injured Anthony Bouthier, the Toulouse player should be lined up at the back Sunday against Scotland at Murrayfield.
Interview in Marcoussis
What does it feel like to win a green carpet match with the offensive bonus?
Thomas Ramos: We were happy but we were all prepared to play this game. There was disappointment when we announced the cancellation of the match because the intensity and quality of our training had increased. We were frustrated not being able to play, a little disappointed. Afterwards, we are in a competition, that makes 5 points for us. If we can win this weekend, there will be a step forward to claim first place. All points are good to take.
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This canceled match against Fiji allows the France team to stay one more week together …
What happened last week is something that we cannot control. We take pleasure in meeting one more week together. It’s all good for us. We couldn’t play last weekend, we didn’t really want to play this match. We are even more motivated for the match which arrives on Sunday.
You had a three-day break before coming back to Marcoussis, did you feel good?
When we learned that the match was canceled, we had to leave for Vannes two hours later. Being able to go home, see our families, our loved ones – even if it’s a bit special at the moment – but it did us good to be able to recharge our batteries before going back to a big week of training and a big game .
“It’s true that, since the arrival of the new staff, I haven’t had a lot of playing time”
There is a good chance, in the absence of Antony Bouthier, that you will start against Scotland. The opportunity to assert yourself in this team?
If I have the chance to start, I would like to show that I too can play these kind of big international matches. It’s true that, since the arrival of the new staff, I haven’t had a lot of playing time. After that, it’s the group that is the strength of this team. I was often a substitute, I returned a few times. Now, if I’m given my chance, it’s up to me to take it.
Fabien Galthié had said that the defeat at Murrayfield, the only one since the new staff took office, had made you grow …
We have learned, now it’s up to us to show that we have learned. It was the first competition that we played with this new group. We had some great matches and some great matches. We had parted on this loss in Scotland, there was frustration to lose this match. Since then, we have had the time to refine certain things, to assess what had worked in this Tournament, what had not worked, to understand why. Today, we come out of two victories (Wales and Ireland), a third on the green carpet. We have to tell ourselves that we are confident, that we are winning matches. We want to win all our matches. It will go through a good match this weekend to validate our objectives.
“Scotland are a team which evolves over time, which becomes more and more difficult to play and to beat”
You played in the last two lost matches in Scotland. What memories do you keep of it?
It was defeats so it’s always a bit annoying. It’s a complicated team, which improves over the years. They have very good players, both in front and behind. They manage to counter their opponents well. They got results, they went to Wales to win, which is not easy. It’s a team that evolves over time, that becomes more and more difficult to play and to beat. We all know it’s going to be a big big game on Sunday. It’s up to us to work well to arrive ready against a team in full confidence.
Did you speak again about the context and the atmosphere when arriving at Murrayfiled which you disturbed at the beginning of the year?
Not too much … We all have in the back of our mind what happened and how it was that day. But, there, it is another context, another competition. It will be completely different. We are working on what we could have done there, but in any case, we do scenarios where we imagine the match in the same way. Honestly, we don’t pay too much attention to it.
This Sunday, there will not be the crazy atmosphere that there was the last time …
The context will be different, yes. Today, the matches behind closed doors, we are starting to get used to. There is no problem with that.
“At the back, I have a little more time to make decisions, especially on my counter-attacks. It became a habit”
How do you experience your rear-opener versatility?
I enjoy the two positions. I have very little to play 10 this season, only one game. Every time I am asked to play in a club, it is with pleasure. But I have considered my position to be number 15 for some time now. I remain completely open to be able to play on both positions. I also enjoy playing 10.
Why do you prefer to play from the back?
It’s not a preference, it’s that I got used to playing in this position. I have a little more time to make decisions, especially on my counterattacks. It became a habit. Doing a season in 10 is totally different, it’s 30 matches where we are targeted in defense. You have to know how to say that my position is 15.
In Toulouse, when we were playing at the back, you also often intervene in the opener area …
In Toulouse, we have the ability to easily exchange our positions. Today, you should know that here at Marcoussis, we are working on a 9-10-15 work axis to lead the game. I think that as the matches go on – and it is not easy for everyone – we will see more and more number 15 taking balls from the opener, and vice versa. You shouldn’t be surprised if you see this.