World / Blues: Luka Karabatic still forfeited against Saudi Arabia, Valentin Porte hoped

The France team will still be deprived of its captain. Luka Karabatic, still handicapped by back pain, will be absent on Saturday for the second match of the Blues in the World Cup, against Saudi Arabia in Katowice. Guillaume Gille, on the other hand, hopes to recover Valentin Porte. After practice on Friday, “the news is rather reassuring for Valentin“, forfeited like Karabatic at the opening against Poland (26-24) due to discomfort in one thigh, the tricolor coach told the press. The right winger said he would decide “tomorrow morning” (Saturday) of his participation after cold testing his thigh. Regarding Luka Karabatic, “we are still in a process of work and care. (The game of) tomorrow comes a little early“, underlined Gille.

Facing the weakest opponent in their group, the Blues will aim for qualification for the main round and a “progress in our game“, according to right winger Yannis Lenne, after the few inaccuracies and loss of ball seen in the opening against the Poles. “We’re going to have to adapt to an atypical defense, they’re going to try shots, be very aggressive. We will be keen to refine our engagement, to make things simple“, engaged the half-center Kentin Mahé.

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Gille hopes to turn

Ideally, Gille will give playing time to those who have had little or none against Poland and in preparation (Lagarde, Bolzinger, to a lesser degree Prandi), but, he specifies, “there is often a big gap between what we want and what we are led to do“.”We will see tomorrow“(Saturday) depending on the face of the match, he added.

Saudi Arabia, largely beaten for its first match by Slovenia (33-19) without being ridiculous, has no professional player. “There is a very good league in Saudi Arabia but the clubs play differently (only European selections), who play faster, shoot faster. In front of them, we are punished if we are not focused“, explained the Saudi coach, the Dane Jan Pytlick, double Olympic champion (2000 and 2004) at the head of the women’s team of Denmark. “We are here to build, learn, gain experience“, added Pytlick, who took the reins of the selection after the departure of Didier Dinart, following the third place obtained during the Asian championship 2022.

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