France: No rest for Francois Cros as crucial Top 14 game awaits

Lawrence Nolan

Fresh off the Grand Slam win, Francois Cros has been back at Toulouse this week, preparing for a crucial Top 14 match at home to Lyon on Sunday.

One of the less-sung heroes of France‘s dominant pack, the back-row spoke on Thursday of his delight at getting his first international try against England; one of the more iconic images of the game was Cros’ hand on the ball on England’s line for several moments before anybody seemed to notice!

Good prospects for the World Cup

And as with most of the rest of France, Cros also remained excited at both what this Les Bleus team has achieved and what it might go on to achieve, with a home World Cup looming in 2023.

“This (Grand Slam) bodes well for the World Cup next season,” he told Midi-Olympique.

“It is up to us to continue to progress. We see that we are on the right track and that if we continue like this we will be able to claim something next year.

“Winning a World Cup has never been done in France. It is our ultimate dream. Especially since the competition will be played in France, in front of our families and friends. We all want to be able to participate in the event and if we could win it, it would be magnificent.

Cros’ try, on the stroke of half-time, was a decisive moment in the game last Saturday against England, giving the home side a healthy half-time lead after several chances had gone begging in the first half.

“I initially thought Romain (Ntamack) was going to score!” he said.

“I was already celebrating his try! Unfortunately, I then saw it one meter from the line. The ball was released quickly.

“I had to either play it or cover the ruck. I went for it and from that moment on, it’s hit or bust: either I score and it’s great or I blow all the previous action.

“I was lucky that my arm holding the ball was free. I almost was short too, but I managed to roll the ball to score. It’s great for me, my first try in the national team, especially in an important match like that.”

Straight from the Grand Slam and to club duty, with Toulouse having lost much ground in the table during the Six Nations. But a home game against third-placed Lyon will be a perfect opportunity to start getting back up the table.

“There was a nice party. We would love to be able to savour it, enjoy the moment, party for a while,” he said.

“We managed to accomplish something exceptional. But our calendar does not allow us to relax.

“We have very important matches coming up and we have to go back to the front quickly if we want to have the opportunity to experience something exceptional with the club again at the end of the season. This is the life of the professional rugby player.”