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Saturday, February 22, 2014

Wales bounce back with strong win over France in Cardiff

Wales's Six Nations campaign is back on track after they scored two tries to beat France 27-6 on Friday night. The defending champions ended France's unbeaten run in the tournament and bounced back from their own disappointing loss two weeks ago.

George North, starting at centre for the first time in a Test match, scored Wales' opening try before camptain Sam Warburton powered over in the second half. Referring to the loss to Ireland, Warburton said that this was exactly the response he wanted from his side.

Coach Warren Gatland added that they are back in contention (for a third successive title).

"I am often grumpy with these guys, but I am happy with that. The performance against Ireland wasn't good enough. We let ourselves down in Dublin. They responded well, with a good performance and a fantastic result," he said.

"The atmosphere was sensational and the players responded brilliantly to the pressure we put on them. I'm a great believer in giving players a chance to redeem themselves, and I think that's definitely what happened.

"When you're involved in a game that doesn't go your way, you want the chance to go out there and put things right. We have got a big game at Twickenham in a couple of weeks, but hopefully today will be a platform for that," he added.

Note: Below are updated extended highlights from the match

Posted at 1:03 pm | 68 comments

Posted in Six Nations 2014

Viewing 68 comments

kanpai February 22, 2014 4:11 pm

As a French fan, i'm really disappointed by our performance.

The first half was catastrophic, with no creativity, no intelligence, no discipline (and no luck too ^^).
Next half was slightly better, but the score gap was too important and we didn't manage to score (so close sometimes, but not enough).
I think we were too satisfied by our two home wins, and by the bad performance of Wales against Ireland. The good thing is that players will realize they need to stay focus for every game.

Kudos to the Welsh, great fighting spirit and great ambiance.
But there is still a lot of work, i think that any good team who play more than one half would have won yesterday : there were lots of gap in defense and a better use of the foot could lead to really dangerous actions ( french did it just once, Why !?!?!?!).




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kanpai February 22, 2014 4:14 pm

And I forgot : really great match by Warburton, he was everywhere and a real pain in the *** for french side.

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Phil mc avity February 22, 2014 9:48 pm

Très fair play le commentaire. C'est sympa de voir ça

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finedisregard February 22, 2014 5:24 pm

Why did Picamoles get a yellow, hands in? And what's up with these jerks patting him on the head? Very unsportsmanlike.

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Facepalm February 23, 2014 4:10 pm

I didn't quite manage catch why he got carded (Italian commentary). Was it for a ruck infringement? Retaliating to the petty head patting? Either way I didn't like the clapping at all.

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Jeri February 23, 2014 7:30 pm

A cheeky tap for getting the upper hand in a physical competition is as gentleman as you can get. Not sure if the French player interpreted it as a having a feint at eye gouging.

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Moo February 23, 2014 10:15 pm

The patting thing has been about for a while, but has increased over the past few seasons. I make no secret that I will not miss it, should the powers that be do what they should do and try to get rid. I don't think issue of a penalty / card for unsportsmanlike conduct would be out of place. It's designed to provoke a reaction and one day karma will be instant and someone will be laid out afterwards (followed by all the bleating that it was not deserved). I do not advocate punching or violence on the pitch. But I would not argue the innocent if I made physical contact with another player, aiming to wind them up, and it worked. I hate the patting almost as much as hitting the try scorer after the score, which seems to go equally unnoticed and unpunished...

Rant over.

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DrG February 24, 2014 1:01 pm

I agree with you there Moo, btw, what is your stance on aiming to wind up a player without physical contact?

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Moo February 24, 2014 8:51 pm

Interesting question, Dr G. Verbal sledging/wind-up/provocation or whatever label you wish to put on it has always been part of the game and of sport in general. It is part and parcel of trying to gain a psychological advantage and I think it must be on page 1 of the scrum-half handbook (and hookers aren't shy of it either)! But in my experience, it is much easier to ignore an opponent spouting all manner of rubbish than it is physical contact. However, there is still a line. When language becomes foul and abusive, I believe it again crosses into the unsportsmanlike conduct bracket, or even worse...

I was unfortunate enough to be playing in a game where the opposing coach was reported to the union and subsequently banned for racially abusing one of our players. To his credit, the player in question did not react other than to walk away - more self-control than I would have displayed in the same situation, I assure you. I realise that this is an extreme instance. But when verbal/non-physical provocation crosses the line, which this example was way beyond, I believe it should also be met with sanction (in this case, the heftiest possible!). But of course, like anything else, it has to be witnessed by the officials.

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:41 pm

I do agree with you there, I suppose you can turn your back and go 'lalalalala' if someones talking to you, but if they pat you on the head after something has been given against you, it's far harder to ignore.

That is horrible about that opposing coach, glad to see him banned. I think there is plenty room for sledging, but I'd much prefer to see it come from players having a quick word with each other in the scrums, rucks, lineouts, mauls etc than from the sidelines..

Actually a couple examples. I remember we were having a brilliant season (and actually got promoted at the end) and during one game with a near bottom of the league team the ball was passed (very nicely) to our winger who for some reason ended up juggling it and knocking it on, to which one of the bench of the opposition laughed loud and yelled 'they can't even get wingers to catch the ball in this team' - I think the reply given by the winger was more or less '..and you can't even get a starting position in your team'. It was brilliant to hear but I did feel like sledging is better done under your breath so only you and the guy your trying to wind up hear it.

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Raceisstillon February 22, 2014 9:15 pm

Shame on you mr referee. Picamoles never deserved a yellow card. The welsh player was rucking the arm of one of his own fellow teammate. And picamoles knew about your mistake as he left the pitch clapping his hands looking at you. You used your whistle like a brownnoser raises his finger in class. Congrats the welsh, you really deserve the win, despite your playing around the rules in scrums, pushing before the signal. They managed to wake up after the spank received in Ireland, hope France will realize we did receive a spank

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DanKnapp February 22, 2014 11:00 pm

He didn't deserve the yellow, but I wish he'd got a red card for the dissent. That sort of childish nonsense doesn't belong on a pitch.

(And yes, I know a red would be harsh, but I would still like to see it)

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Phil mc avity February 22, 2014 9:54 pm

The Welsh are a good fit team, athletes. And they've got some internationnal players (North, Warburton).
The french attack was shite, way too flat, not a threat at all, Bastareaud against North is a shit decision, North was always going to outmuscle, and outrun him. I would have put Fickou and Fofana centres. Saint Andre should really look into that combination. I thought Mas was good. The french second rows (Pape and Maestri) are thugs. Arrogant thugs. Bullies. They are not world class athletes (Launchbry/Lawes/Whitelock/Alun wyn Jones...etc). And Pape isn't even a leader, he had a go at the newly capped winger, when it was actually him that cocked up (he threw the ball into touch). What a wank*r. (Un vrai enculé... As the french would say).

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Reality February 24, 2014 5:11 pm

I remember him chucking the ball into touch and I remember how stupid I thought he looked complaining to someone else for something that was obviously his own mistake. Having a captain who can't take responsibility for his own actions isn't exactly inspirational.

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FatProp February 22, 2014 9:55 pm

This is a weird match to take anything from because only one team turned up. I think France had the mentality that they can lose one game and still win the championship, and on a Friday night in wales they just could not be bothered. The moment the first try goes over they just did not give a **** and it was over. But fair play wales they just battered through and put the points on the board.

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Phil mc avity February 22, 2014 10:04 pm

Yeah it's because they've got arrogant dicks leading the team (Pape, Maestri,Picamoles) when the actual good players don't get a shout (Fickou and Fofana)

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Phil mc avity February 22, 2014 9:56 pm

Don't want to go on too much about the welsh but they are world class. A team that has been and is building and getting stronger. Warburton is a brilliant captain. And everyone gave it their all.

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45678 February 23, 2014 12:50 pm

The best team in the world again apparently

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Guy February 22, 2014 10:19 pm

Impressed by Wales, not too impressed by the French and their soccer-like antics towards the officials. They might have been frustrated by some of the calls (and by their own inability to do anything usefull with the ball) but that just doesn't justify that kind of behaviour.

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DrG February 22, 2014 10:38 pm

This was a very painful match to watch.... Did they ever complete a single scrum?

Can't pick out a particular instance but Rolland appeared to have a bad game.

I have to iterate, I am not a France fan so I am not bitter one way or the other about who won. I think we can all agree the better team won, but I have to totally agree with Thomas Castaignède, I don't think Wales played all that great, I just think that France played so appallingly it made the Welsh look like they were playing better than they were.

From a French perspective it must have been a horrible match to see, although I thought the French had 'some' good aspects and still looked slightly dangerous, I also felt they were an age away from the team we saw in their previous game - although granted it was against Italy.

I watched something online which was a recap on the last group of games and it mentioned Fofana being such a dangerous player, it was such a shame to see him so quiet.

I thought North adapted very well to take up that position in the centre, it's no surprise to see him on the score sheet. Wasn't 100% on the Warburton try, I get the whole, he went to ground and laid the ball short, but then he rolled it and it; I guess, touched or went over the line, is he allowed to roll it like that?

All in all, the right team won, but it was a painful match to watch.

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Phil mc avity February 22, 2014 10:55 pm

Don't know the rule on rolling the ball, but it was with the same momentum so I think it should be allowed

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DrG February 23, 2014 1:11 am

Yeh I think I recall it was sort of 'place and roll' rather than 'place then roll' if that makes sense..

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FelipeG February 23, 2014 2:21 pm

Not french either and i completely agree. Really bad game. Wales wasnt that good, France just sucked. And Rolland too. I thought the french newspaper would be full of comments about Rolland. Nothing. The BBC on the other hand said something about the ref's weird calls regarding scrums and Picamoles.
I dont recall any straight launch by Wales in line-out. Still the only time Rolland blowed his whistle was when the ball went toward the french. Not a fan of conspiracy theories, but with all the fuss about welsh rugby being so desperate to get an audience on TV...(did you see thoses articles saying soccer would overcome rugby in Wales?) Well this result comes right on time.

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Frenchie February 23, 2014 12:02 pm

A non game by the French. They showed their real level i'm afraid. I thought the ref was very harsh towards the French. The prop Mas told the press that the Welsh pushed way too early, before the scrum was stable.
I thought the Welsh were just better, but surely not incredible. They pushed the French, played too quick and never let the French space.
Our scrum/fly halves were very ba, there was no link between the forwards and the backs (Picamoles got isolated), and Bastareau should be on the bench.

We need to see Parra, Trinh Duc, Fickou urgently Mr Saint André!

There's a lot of grief towards Papé in the press being too mouthy.

For me that try from Warburton is very dodgy; not sure about how to read the rule there but I think that it should be seems as a double movement: ball is grounded short the man is stopped then the ball is rolled away; that's not done in the same movement. Anyway...

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DrG February 23, 2014 1:47 pm

Oh yeh, to add, Rolland being very card happy again...

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FelipeG February 23, 2014 2:33 pm

Watching the highlights again... First welsh try shouldn't happen even tough its perfectly valid. Just the opposite for the second. Its well deserved but clearly 2 times. Dont see why Picamoles is called an arrogant dick higher. The welsh on the other hand patting Picamoles'head... hate to see that. And Picamoles reaction to beeing unfairly sent off doesn't seems that bad at all. I can undersand how bitter he must feel.

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sportsfan1 February 23, 2014 2:38 pm

Yeah I thought Rolland had a terrible game. I don't think he has a clue about the scrum? i think he just guesses? For me the Warburton try was not a try, surely rolling the ball forward is a knock on? again for me Wales were not that great. One lucky try from a french mistake and another that shouldn't have been given and a lot of penalties from scrums that maybe shouldn't have been? I admit Wales were the better team but I don't think the performance was as good as people are making out.

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DrG February 23, 2014 3:28 pm

...amen to that!

Although about Warbs rolling the ball, not sure, because he was still in control of the ball..so is that a knock on?

I am not saying one way or the other, but I still maintain it looks more like a 'place and roll' than a 'place THEN roll'...

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matt February 23, 2014 11:01 pm

In my mind the warburton try is fine because he hit the floor, and then placed the ball. And as far as I understand the rules you are perfectly entitled to place the ball once you've landed in any direction you want, so long as it is immediate. The fact that he hit the floor with the ball out in front of him and then placed it 2 inches further is irrelevant detail.

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FatProp February 23, 2014 5:14 pm

Rolland isn't the only ref who cant work out the scrum but my god he gets it wrong 8/10 times. I saw one with Jenkins and Mas, Jenkins was pretty much kissing his own boots and then mas just fell on his stomach because the pressure being applied to the welsh pack and he gives wales a penalty !?

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DrG February 23, 2014 9:10 pm

Sometimes I think with all these alterations all the damn time most of the front rows can't work out the scrums either.

I really enjoyed the commentary from Brian Moore on the England v Ireland game with his 'thats what happens when hookers don't hook' comments.

I think scrums in generally have become so different from what they once were. When I was at school we had a good solid scrum most of the time, but there were times we were penalised for driving more than a metre - which at the time is illegal in junior rugby (and perhaps still is?) but the ball was always hooked!!!!! ALWAYS!!! I was actually praised for my hooking abilities on our own scrum and the opposition scrum (now being 6'6" I stay away from the front rows (silly place to be!) But nowadays there is no hooking battles of old, teams require the biggest heaviest and strongest front rows to help 'walk over' the ball.

I used to recall watching professional hookers in international matches running around like part of the back row, stocky fellows - slighter than the props, but quick, roaring around the field - look at Keith Wood...

Now hookers are like a bloody 3rd prop!

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matt February 23, 2014 10:59 pm

I thought that particular Brian Moore comment was idiotic. England had hooked the ball, but were being driven backwards and then fragmented. And that is a problem that is increasingly occurring because the attacking hooker has to hook, and therefore there are only 7 players pushing. So it is actually a problem that occurs when hookers do hook. It is the exact opposite of what he was saying.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 9:26 am

I think hookers are still more like flankers around the pitch than props, when theyre not getting any closer to props. The whole game is getting more athletic (apart from Matt stevens XD) and if you look at the 6 nations hookers: Szarseski, Hartley, Youngs, Hibbard, Ford, Kayser and they put in loads of tackles and can run well with the ball.

The scrums have got safer without the engage impact, but I don't think anyone knows whats going on. If you look at England Ireland, england didnt hook, and the scrums looked like a right mess, but then Ireland had a coule of brilliant scrums so maybe ENG were just poor? I think they should always just hook the ball really hard right away and try and push enough to not get smashed before they get the ball out. If you dont hook, there is no point in having a scrum for your team.

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DrG February 24, 2014 1:05 pm

Actually Matt, I disagree with you there, at least in the context of the particular scrum we're referring to. I believe the ball stayed very central in the scrum for a good few seconds before it was probably a case of 'oh shit, we're not going anywhere, I better hook it' came into Hartley's mind (it was Hartley yes?). If he had hooked the ball instantly or at least got his timing right with the scrum half they wouldn't have had to go to plan B which was his scrambled hack at the ball.

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matt February 24, 2014 5:18 pm

Fair enough, I'd need to have another look at that scrum to refresh my memory, but I remember the ball being in the second rows feet.

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Colombes February 23, 2014 8:22 pm

Quite agree with many comments over here.
It was a painful and boring game to watch wether u're french or welsh.

Not astonished by Wales answer. They promise physical contact, and the words were well traduced in big heavy North and Robert charges, solid scrummaging and Warburton perfect 80 minutes performance.
But like said before, the reds weren't so extraordinary and quite helped by a poor french side and some dodgy decisions. à suivre vs an improving England.

On les bleus, much could be said. I'm quite annoyed by St-andré calendar excuses as players didn't lose the physical battle, they were just poor on basics... at a certain point, i stopped to count the french knock-ons... Just look at the 1st welsh try.
I won't even talk about the absence of plan B in the 2nd half. Why France attack from every corner of the pitch when they should have taken time to inverse the pressure?
Doussain and Plisson were also catastrophic in their choices and penalty attempts. Parra injury return will may bring more 'consistency', a weird word which can't be really translated in french.

A last word on Rolland, "the famous public ennemy of Wales" :)
In France, we say a good wine improves with time, well, this logic didn't fit with this referee. What a way to quit the game: Slowing the game for both teams, Ridiculous way to manage the scrums (wales was always pushing before introduction), abusive use of the video ref, yellow card of Picamoles stays an enigma, the list is long.

A match to forget for France, to not forget for Wales, Let's forget Rolland,

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krip February 24, 2014 8:32 am

"Boring game" is too gentle to describe this game. It was a pure atrocity!
It was a scandal the rugby world should not witness.

Both teams had a terrible game and especially the welsh. They are light yeas away from their past 2-3 years form and class. They just got lucky this night, showing absolutely nothing. Just wait and see the end of 6N.

France is a completely different case though. Just try to put yourself in the boots of one of the french players on the field and follow this line:
- you are obviously a visitor on one of the most unfriendly arenas in world rugby, Millennium
- you receive an early try from a really strange move when your fullback is heavily harassed when chasing by the opponent player and then gets the ball knocked off his hands from a teammate
- referee shows early on the game he will have double standards: Pape knocks the ball legally with foot when welsh scrumhalf is passing - penalized, later a welsh player does the same - no penalty
- your are denied a try: the most recent rules say that if you knock on the ball out of your opponents hands when tackling, hence going for the man and not for the ball, this is not a knock on. Huget try is pretty much 50-50 call.
- you get a frustrating penalty every time you try to scrum.
- your opponent is given a try after rolling the ball forward on the ground. Not to mention your fullback retrieves the ball before it`s put behind the line... definitely not a 50-50 call.
- your most potent ball carrier is given an yellow card for uncertain reasons, while your opponents forwards are executing every dirty play in the breakdown they can
- and again - you get really frustrating penalties in the scrum

Now try to play well in such game... If you ever played rugby you`ll know what I mean. Professional players, rugby stars are really tough guys with strong mentality, but they are not machines.

Saint-Andre selection was pretty ok, it was other factors that ruined the game for France.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 9:34 am

The frenhc team don't go into game with the right mentality ATM, maybe its because theyve got an arrogant wanker and thug of a captain.
Fickou should start with Fofana.

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Colombes February 24, 2014 11:38 am

Dear krip,
only blame Rolland to justify the french poor performance isn't true.
we all know that Wales had built their game thx to very weird Rolland decisions, but, France didn't find the right answers to come back and slowly lose their nerves.

Dear Phil,
u're right on Papé. the guy often forgets he's captain, but as long as dusautoir is injured... And u're wrong on Fickou, Wales wasn't a match for the beauty. Scotland will be a better playground for him.

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krip February 24, 2014 12:34 pm

Colombes, I don`t blame poor french performance only on referee. I am just trying to make a point here - many people comment and say that France played horrible, that they are overrated and won with luck against England and so on... and the game with Wales showed their real potential. I just want people to try and put themselves into french players boots on that day in that very moment on Millennium stadium. And then judge and spit shite...

It wasn`t really hard if you were a welsh player on that day, as it wasn`t easy to be a french one.

btw I think Parra can make a great captain.



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DrG February 24, 2014 1:18 pm

I actually didn't think the French beat England through JUST luck, I thought they had an element of luck on their side but also good skill and they did the usual French thing of playing 90 minute rugby in an 80 minute game... when everyone switches off at 79 minutes, the French are still puffing about thinking they have another 11 minutes to go. I actually thought the better team won that day - but I am aware I am not necessarily in a majority group with that view.

Krip you said:
'Not to mention your fullback retrieves the ball before it`s put behind the line... definitely not a 50-50 call.' behind the line does not matter, on the line is a try, so it only needs to scrape the line to be a try, after that nothing matters.

Every rugby stadium is difficult to go to as an away player. Murrayfield for some reason these days resorts to booing the hell out the kicker, Aviva (shudder! - Should be Landsdowne!!!) stadium is pretty immense if you get the Irish crowd going, Twickenham - England HQ, you think that is more friendly than the Welsh stadium? Especially to a French team? And Stadio Flaminio, different scene altogether. The French players have to be used to playing in a hostile environment, French domestic rugby is no tickling contest in the opposition stadium!

I actually think the problems lie in domestic rugby and the influx of 'foreign players'. So many teams, so many positions, so many different partnerships, French international team reminds me of a barbarians team - coming together to play a few games, then off we go back to our day jobs.

The only thing French seem to be doing consistently is being the most inconsistent team known to mankind.

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Phil mc avity February 24, 2014 6:10 pm

Yep but I ment the french should have started Fickou before the welsh game. But he should start sooner rather than later. Theyre not going forward with bastareaud. Also dont give a sh** I still wouldn't have Pape as captain now after he had such a go at one of his players (the winger).

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TapperJones February 24, 2014 12:18 am

I'm Welsh so I don't claim to be unbiased. This is my perspective:

I think generally it was a poor game. France were god awful yes, and it's fair to say Wales were not spectacular. The yellow for Picamoles was definitely unfair, but overall I'd say it was probably referred fairly as rugby goes (the ref always makes a mistake or two). Say what you want about the scrums but Wales looked stronger and in Rolland's defence he carded both sides not just France. I'd concede that Wales were also VERY lucky in a lot of areas, but you create your own luck don't you?

I understand that the two Welsh tries were fairly controversial. However, for me North's was fine as there wasn't really enough of a push (plus, the ball was collected regardless; it was dropped when the player hit the floor and knocked into his own team mate). The second try admittedly I'm less sure about. I don't know the rule on 'rolling' the ball, but I think France should look at Picamoles' try the other week before they claim it was unfair. We're splitting hairs here and you've got to give the attacking team a reasonable advantage. I don't see how rolling (without knocking on) is any different from a legal extra movement.

Even if both tries were disallowed and Picamoles wasn't sent off I still think France would still have lost the game. France's kicking was also woeful for international level. You can't blame anybody but yourself with a 21 point margin.

Regardless of all that, Wales could only play what was in front of them. Considering their performance against Ireland, a 27-6 win against the only undefeated team left is still impressive. Credit where it's due.

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DrG February 24, 2014 1:27 pm

The first try I definitely cannot see fault with. The 'push' was nothing, as you said the French player actually got the ball (so the push could have been beneficial!) and it was his own clumsy team mate that smashed the ball out of his grip.

As you said the Warburton try is a funny one, I don't know what the ruling can be on that, if there is a ruling at all? I said above, I feel that Warburton 'placed AND rolled' rather than 'placed THEN rolled'...

I felt both teams were dire and painful to watch, but the best/right team won, and it was a key win for Wales.

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Pipo February 24, 2014 1:41 am

PLEASE HELP! Where can I see this (full) game online? I can't find it on youtube whereas Eng-Ire and Italy- Sco are already there.

Thank you very much in advance.

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Moo February 24, 2014 7:52 am

If you're in the UK, it's on BBC iPlayer.

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Guest Macao February 24, 2014 8:28 am

As a french supporter, we can argue as much as we want on Rolland, Try no Try etc... but we have been beaten flat and straight on the envy. Welsh defense was hungry for the ball and how many tackles were made at the ankle... our guys hardly had time to make 2 steps.
2nd half could have been different if Dulin cross on the right side of Bastareaud instead of left, or if three players would have follow fofana on his break like against Italy, that just show how much they did not want to be there.
Hope we will wake up for the Scotts, so we can have a proper shot at the title against Ireland at Stade de France.
Allez les bleus!

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Oliver February 24, 2014 9:40 am

As a French fan, I really think the score does not reflect the game at all. I don't think we deserved to win, but there was A LOT of dodgy refereeing.
I mean, how often does it happen that 2 days after the game, no one still has any idea why a player was sent off?? We're not even arguing whether the Picamoles card was justified, we just don't know the reason. And in the meantime Owen Farrel gets away with that shoudler charge? Come on.

The only thing positive thing for me is that the 6N remains very close and unpredictable. A thriller every year.

Now what worries me: the French captaincy. Pape has a temper and speaks no english, hardly what you want in a leader. Really makes me regret the class act that was Dusautoir. But if I was in Saint Andre's boots, I really don't know who I would pick to be captain......Who has that authority? Nyanga maybe? That problem has to be settled before the next world cup!

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DrG February 24, 2014 1:22 pm

Regarding the Farrel no card and Pape yes card thing - It is Rolland we're talking about, I'm not suggesting he had it out for the French, but he is a card happy referee...

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Colombes February 24, 2014 1:42 pm

Interesting debate on the french captaincy

Papé is definetly thug-potential. After 15 years of carrer, he never achieved to control his nerves. I was quite annoyed by his behaviour last friday, always running and shouting after Rolland... Rather to be cold-blood, he installed an injustice feeling through his players...

Knowing that Dusautoir will be back in june and will be the indiscutable leader for the RWC 2015.. it would be interesting to see Saint-André test guys like Swarzweski, Nyanga or even Parra. Noisy caporal, i'm pretty sure Parra would be much more responsible in a captain position

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Oliver February 24, 2014 2:48 pm

it's true about Rolland.
and I'll admit it: it's just that I cant stand Farrell...... Absolute twat.

anyways, about the captaincy, I used to think Parra would be a good choice, but after the headbutt on Rene Ranger, and the other incidents, I've changed my mind. I'd go with Nyanga or of course Dusautoir when he's back.
(message personnel : reviens vite s'il te plait Thierry!!!)

Also this just came in: Fofana and Nyanga are hurt..... Seriously bad news for les Bleus.

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Mastersa February 24, 2014 11:51 pm

And now there are 4. The Welsh to go to Twickers for a Muscle Fest. The Irish who invite Italy over for a game of cricket and the Scots with their ' at least we have won one' attitude versus the artist formally know as France with their 'Merd we are lucky to have won one' attitude. It shapen up to be a cracker.

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stroudos February 25, 2014 1:11 pm

I hereby doff my hat and bow in humble admiration and respect for Monsieur Saint-Andre, who has taken the massive decision to drop Picamoles, specifically on account of his pathetic, schoolboy, footballery reaction to being sinbinned.

This decision is a victory for all those who consider respect for the referee to be a sacrosanct part of the awesome game that is rugby.

In PSA's own words:
“Respect is the foundation of our values. It is important to send a signal to all players that the privilege of wearing the jersey imposes duties and obligations.”

Couldn't agree more Phil.


PS - By the way, the cynic in me can't help wondering if PSA would still have been quite so bold had the next fixture been against a better team than Scotland...

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:43 pm

..haha, yes quite a convenient fixture for Picamoles to sit in the corner and think about what he has done...

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MagnificientLoser February 25, 2014 1:14 pm

I tend to question Parra's intelligence (That's actually giving him the credit that he might be intelligent despite all the appearances that he is not). It's hard to tell a scrum half as their intelligence is often over-rated (Laporte, Berbizier and Galthié as prime examples).

On the other hand, hooker is the most under-rated position (Fitzpatrick, Wood, Ibanez, Moore...) and I agree Swarzweski may be a good candidate (not saying that Blondie compares with the guys I have listed). Swarz was having a chat with Rolland regarding scrums during the game, this is not allowed, as far as I'm aware (only the captain can) but most importantly it seems to imply that he does not trust Papé to convey the right message and feels entitled (which his the first requirement in the job description.

Nyanga is definitely a good backup for Dusautoir with the same profile (soft spoken and leader by the example) but he is in a different league.

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DrG February 25, 2014 1:46 pm

I think as a front row player he can have a quick word with the referee regarding the front row, whether or not the referee chooses to engage in conversation with him is another matter, some referee's will, others will say 'talk to your captain'..

Plus it depends whether blondie was talking in a civil manner...

Doesn't matter either way, I don't think a single scrum was completed...

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stroudos February 25, 2014 6:28 pm

My French is not as good as it was but he was definitely making a specific point about the scrum, so personally I would say that's acceptable and he did speak politely. But, if I'm not mistaken, I'm pretty sure Rollers told him to do one anyway, (politely too, something along similar lines to "talk to your captain").

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Oliver February 26, 2014 9:24 am

About Picamoles being dropped out of "respect for the referee", it's not that straight-forward: Saint Andre is also bringing back Parra who just received a red card days ago for a headbutt on Ranger!! Not to mention Papé is still captain.......

I have to say I've lost faith in St André.... He's tried countless fly/scrum hal combos in two years and I'm still not convinced any of them was better than Parra/Trin Duc, who are still fairly young (25 and 27). I really hope they'll be back in the team at some point. Actually I feel the team should be built around those 2. Just imagine how solid the squad could be if they went into the 2015 world cup with the experience of a final in 2011!

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DrG February 26, 2014 12:33 pm

Parra red card incident a few days ago for anyone interested:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_wfXFZXP90

For the record I think both cards given were ridiculous especially Rangers.. Parra could be argued that the letter of the law says...blahblahblah..

I feel that it could be dealt with using the old Nigel Owens precedent of 'You're both acting very immature!'

View Video

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DrG February 26, 2014 12:35 pm

Actually referee's should be given another card - although the colour won't matter as it will be a talking card and will just have a selection of Nigel Owens quotes to use as needed.

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Frenchie February 26, 2014 7:12 pm

@ Stroudos: Saint Andre is a fool and very contradictory. He punishes Picamoles, undoubtedly one of the best in the world for his gesture but calls out Parra after he head butted a player…SERIOUSLY?

You should be shocked seeing Farrell play after what he did against Scotland and Ireland. I don't think Picamoles gesture was that nasty. DO YOU KNOW WHY HE GOT CARDED? I don't.

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DrG February 26, 2014 10:14 pm

Frenchie, I'm not sure if you saw the incident but the head butt was nothing really.. I posted a link to it above.

As for the gesture, I suppose you're right, it wasn't that nasty, but it is probably more of a principle thing. We DON'T want the game to head towards soccer where referee's are pushed and pulled around the pitch, surrounded and shouted at by over paid pansies. I respect the fact that Picamoles must have been extremely frustrated, but over the years we've seen plenty of players who are at boiling point still showing respect to the referee, so why change it now.

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dave February 27, 2014 5:22 am

LOL at wales' honest scrummaging
they should send jenkins down to age group so he can learn to properly hold up a scrum

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Frenchie February 27, 2014 8:14 pm

@ DrG :
I saw the head butt and I agree with you. But if you talk about "principle" and think that a coach should punish his player for showing disrespect by clapping at the ref, it is for me moronic for the same coach to welcome bak a player who tried to head butt his opponent.

Nowhere has Picamoles shown a aggressive behaviour towards Rolland and we are far from what you described on the football pitch. For me the coach should have warned Picamoles in private like he did with Vahamaina; put him on the bench.

Saint Andre is sending the wrong message; again. He's dumb; don't know if you speak French but hearing him speak is painful.

And yes...if Picamoles was a bad player I wouldn't mind so much but we need him!

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Phil mc avity February 28, 2014 9:14 am

Two wrongs don't make a right Frenchie. In my opinion; PSA call to drop Picamoles was the right shout (to keep respect in rugby whatever the cost) but also I agree that Parra is just a childish dick and shouldn't be picked after the headbutt incident. (I thought PSA picked Parra because Dousain was injured and all this was before the headbutting? Because how could PSA pick Parra seen as he has been banned? Genuine question).
But France at the moment have got a big problem with respect even amongst their team. Pape the captain had a right go at Bonneval when Pape cocked up and threw the ball into touch. Parra's headbutt (people were saying a couple of weeks ago that Parra would make a good captain!!!) and Picamoles clapping. I don't know what the yellow card was for, France were giving a lot of penatlies away but maybe it was a bad shout from the ref, but that happens. THAT IS NOT AN EXCUSE TO DISRESPECT THE REF.
If someone asks me, "what do I like so much about rugby?" The first thing I always anwser is "The fact a 5ft ref can tell two 6ft10 players to stop acting like children, and that the players respect the ref"
The next thing I would probably say is "The team spirit, that you put your body on the line for the other 14 out there"
France cocked up on both of them (those arguments) during this match for me; Picamoles clapping and Pape shouting at Bonneval.

France have some brilliant world class players (Fofana, Mas, Nyanga) I think they need to bring youngsters into the team such as Tolofua from Toulouse, Fickou..etc so they get as much experience as they can before the world cup. And I do think that people like Pape, Mas and Picamoles could set a good example for them, but at the moment theyre not in the right mind set.


Also PSA has stress problems so don't be childish and call him Dumd. But he speaks a lot clearer when he speaks in english, it's like his stress goes away, (maybe thats because he loves being interviewed by Gaby Logan!).

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dave March 02, 2014 7:13 pm

So I'm the last person to cheer for Welsh rugby because your fans are such arrogant dicks but I have a problem with the idea of Wales bragging about how they unearth these great talents like North and Cuthbert because they're not afraid to display talent even when it's raw, well how come their flyhalves are only good enough to be playing back up to premiership clubs?
You know who they should toss in at 10? Mr Owen Williams at Leicester, this guy is young but he makes preistland and the other guy whose not worth mentioning look like pylons.

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