All Blacks snatch victory at the death


Prop lays into fullback with big shot


Springboks edge All Blacks in thriller


Ludovic Mercier crazy reverse pass


Samu Manoa Huge Hit on Billy Twelvetrees


Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps


The Human Hurdle Attempt


Richard Hibbard & Kalamafoni double hit


Juan De Jongh vs Terry Crews dance off

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Ireland win 2014 Six Nations after late France forward pass

Ireland gave Brian O'Driscoll a fitting farewell as they beat France 22-20 in Paris earlier today. France had chances to take the lead late in the game, with Jean Marc Doussain missing a penalty ten minutes from full time, then a Pascal Pape try-scoring pass went forward with two minutes left.

Commiserations to France who fought gallantly all match, but congratulations to Ireland who won in Paris for only the second time in forty years, and claimed their first Six Nations title since 2009.

Above is the late chance for France, but full highlights and a report will be available soon

Posted at 7:13 pm | 71 comments

Posted in Six Nations 2014

Viewing 71 comments

hellraiser_rob March 15, 2014 8:05 pm

Congratulations to the Irish, they have been fantastic all tournament. What to say about Steve Walsh, I personally think he's a bit of an embarrassment to the IRB

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kanpai March 15, 2014 8:09 pm

As a frenchman, i'm angry, and glad that i'm angry, it means that i actually believe in this team, and that wasn't granted before the start.
I'm glad that they played with spirit during all the match, something which was lost for too long now. I'm glad I've seen a good match, and glad that i can say :" yeah, we lost, but we played well !"
I'm glad for Dulin, who really was at his best tonight :what a man under the high ball ! not tall but he caught them all ^^
I'm angry on some points : the two miss pass (Bastareaud in 1st half and Pape in second half) which should have been tries, but mainly with the last action. How can a player make such a mistake ? we all know Irish like to create maul to regain the possession, but Vahaamina still went for it... i really was upset, even if we can't say whether there would be some scoring after or not, that was a rookie mistake.

But i have to congratulate the Irish, during the tournament they were the most regular team, and managed to give O'driscoll the best end of international career. Kudos to him and the Irish team !

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hellraiser_rob March 15, 2014 8:25 pm

Well said kanpai. Just a question, why do you think France can't play like this every week? They seem so up and down!

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Vladimir March 15, 2014 8:49 pm

There might be many reasons. For starters, there is no consistency in terms of preparation through the year - the eternal argument between clubs and national team. Then, we have a long and disappointing tradition of inconsistency (if no incompetence) with natioanal coaches. Often they get the job thanks to 'friends' of the federation without having proved anything before with a club or without having any legacy of some sort (Lievremont coached in second league, PSA hasn't won anything at all). Worse, they have terrible pride (and the players too): never will you hear these men publicly acknowledging their mistakes, there are always external excuses for what happened (there you may see the difference between Papé and Dussautoir in leadership). Players are picked up without any coherence (Picamoles at 6, Parra at 10 during WCC, ...) or because of personal tastes of the coach (Lievremont did like very much Basque players even mediocre ones, for instance Traille instead of Fritz).
Luckily, sometimes we get to see glimples of the talent the players have. But it is all natural instinct (and it is a wonderful one). The difference with others teams are clear : no game plan, no technique, no set moves worked out...
My conviction is that the best that could happen to any french team would be, one day, to have a southern hemisphere coach. But, hey, they let Vern Cotter leave for Scotland, so...

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Canadian content March 16, 2014 11:18 am

If only the fellah in Toulouse would take over. Most successful euro coach last 10 years and understands the French persona.

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O*N March 16, 2014 4:16 pm

@Vladimir Great post, I think you've touched on every glaring issue facing the French national team. It would be great to see a French side playing to their absolute full potential consistently. I think they are one of the few sides in the world who stack up against the All Blacks in terms of individual talent player by player.

As you suggest, perhaps the only solution would be to bring in a foreign (southern hemisphere or not) coach to have a clear break from parochial politics that dominate French sports administration. The very idea though of allowing a foreigner to coach the French national team would break the very cornerstone of French national identity - that they are superior to everyone in everything - and so is likely to rest a non-runner for the foreseeable future.

So while that idiot PSA is left in charge (and until the appoint the next idiot friend of the FFR's president) we might as well enjoy watching this crazy mess of a team capable of the best and worst rugby from one moment to the next which serves as a perfect metaphor for the beautiful mess of a country they represent! Vive la France!

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FatProp March 16, 2014 11:32 pm

Honestly if you got Jake White in tomorrow you would stand a half decent chance of winning the world cup.

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kanpai March 15, 2014 8:58 pm

If only i know... maybe because it would be to easy if we were always at the top ^^.

More seriously, French national team always had an history of up and down, sometimes even in the same match. And that's a mystery, because some french teams (Toulouse, Clermont amongst other), are on the top of Top 14 since decades now, so it's not about the players. Perhaps because there is more liberty for players in the national team ?

Whateber the reason is, that's all the charm of this team, and one thing is sure, you never want to say that a french win is against all odds, because that's when some french magic is more likely to appear (remember remember, the 99 semi-final). Maybe because "impossible n'est pas Français" (impossible isn't french).

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DrG March 16, 2014 1:16 am

It's common knowledge that the French team are by far the most consistent team at being completely inconsistent..

One week you'll have a team that would give the AB's a run for their money, the next you have a team which looks like they'd rather be eating crepes and drinking wine than getting beaten by potentially any U12 team that steps up to take them on.

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Mastersa March 15, 2014 8:48 pm

Trust France to come out and play their best game of the tournament. Made for an exiting tense battle. Whats more pleasing as an Irish man was the performances of some of the newcomers and the bench. Devon Toner has made the 4 jersey his. Dave Kearney has Tommy Bowe worried, Chris Henry however different to Sean O'Brien was so effective. In fact there is healthy pressure in all positions. To the coaching who made the physically smallest team one of the best defensesive outfits of the competition with a solid set peace. Hats off Smidht, Feak and Plumtree. Finally Brian O'' Driscoll, Thank you for your awesomeness.

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Canadian content March 16, 2014 11:15 am

The only thing bowe needs to worry about is how big of pals are David Kearney and schimdt from their Leinster days. He and ferguson are adequate internationals at best. Bowe looked awesome recently, never seen Kearney play like that. Hell zebo should worry bowe more. The only thing Kearney worries me is that if selected, can he outpace a lock forward or will he get tap tackle like he did against England when Ireland needed someone with pace to burn

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Mastersa March 16, 2014 3:42 pm

I'm sensing you are not a leinster fan or a ladie..

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Merci pour le sexism...

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Mastersa March 16, 2014 7:36 pm

Phil it possibly comes as a surprise to you, but both Kearney brothers are much lauded by the ladies and few have a bad word to say about them unlike Canadien content. Maybe you misunderstood or misread the comments before labeling me a sexist. Like the use of French. Makes you sound sophisticated.

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 8:57 pm

My mistake, but I didnt know about them and the ladies. Just didn't want to hear anything sexist.

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Mastersa March 15, 2014 8:48 pm

Trust France to come out and play their best game of the tournament. Made for an exiting tense battle. Whats more pleasing as an Irish man was the performances of some of the newcomers and the bench. Devon Toner has made the 4 jersey his. Dave Kearney has Tommy Bowe worried, Chris Henry however different to Sean O'Brien was so effective. In fact there is healthy pressure in all positions. To the coaching who made the physically smallest team one of the best defensesive outfits of the competition with a solid set peace. Hats off Smidht, Feak and Plumtree. Finally Brian O'' Driscoll, Thank you for your awesomeness.

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Hanji March 15, 2014 9:36 pm

Happy out a great match and a great win. Credit to France for playing the way we know they can, do it every match guys! Galway, Belfast, Limerick and Dublin will be unreal tonite. 5 years has been too long COME ON IRELAND!

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Mac-an-Bhaird March 15, 2014 11:48 pm

France really hadn't shown up all tournament. They were lacking direction most of the time but they turned up in spades tonight. Machenaud, Fickou, Dulin were the outstanding French players for me. But fair play to the boys in green. The last time they beat France at home was in 2000. Brian O' Driscoll's debut year, and he scored a hat-trick. What a great send off to BOD. A six nations championship, the top try scorer of all time in the competition, the most capped rugby player (International Rugby Union). We will miss him..

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DrG March 16, 2014 1:19 am

Going to miss BOD, his cheeky grin and his great playing! A champion for all rugby and definitely one for the hall of fame. Thought the score was spot on in terms of reflecting the game, very exciting stuff.

I actually thought Steve Walsh was fine...

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Jeri March 16, 2014 2:06 am

Congrats Ireland! Well deserved victory. Where did they go right? Last year they dominated the All Blacks for 70 minutes, and this year they're champions of Europe!

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ThanksBeToBOD March 16, 2014 2:43 am

Where did they go right? Two words: "Joe" and "Schmidt".

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Canadian content March 16, 2014 11:31 am

Agreed he's done well and Ireland are playing with great structure and self belief. But some of his decisions still worry me. Why'd he bring off Murray for reddan so early? Sure Murray was kicking a bit too far but he was the MOM in my opinion, he's like a bit smaller but way better distributing mile Phillips. Had to stay on. Then u end the game with two club backups in your backfield? All this to say I think he still needs some fine tuning

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Toby guest March 16, 2014 6:42 am

Well done Ireland. The table doesn't lie.

Got very lucky - Healy should have walked (red IMHO but yellow at least) for the flying headbutt.

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 8:23 am

There's putting your body on the line for your country (Halfpenny) and then there's smashing a player just using your head... What a thug.

All the fullbacks this year have been immense I think, quality players, a part from Hogg, who we didn't see much of, a part from when he was on the TMO for the illegal charge down.

I think France would be a lot more consistent and better with Dusautoir, Nyanga and Fofana back, imagine Fofana and Fickou in the centres!

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hellraiser_rob March 16, 2014 8:47 am

Yeah, well this isn't exactly Healy's first act of foul play, i'm sure the citing offers will look at it.

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stroudos March 17, 2014 8:36 am

Dirty bastard. Certainly hope there's a citing and some punishment here, especially considering the extent of Healey's "previous". He's a thug, worse than Bakkies Botha but with the same shit-eating grin.

I think this was definitely worth a yellow on the day and it's intriguing (if completely futile) to wonder what the impact on the match - and indeed the score - might have been had Healey been sent for 10 minutes in the bin.


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DrG March 17, 2014 12:04 pm

That's a bit strong there Stroudos.... worse than Bakkies Botha?

Healy is no angel, but his record has to be less blotted with incidents that Mr Botha I'm sure...

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Phil mc avity March 17, 2014 5:28 pm

I agree with Stroudos, well he's definetly down there with Botha in terms in being a dirty wanker. It's a shame because I actually think he plays a big big key part in Irelands team.

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DrG March 16, 2014 10:39 am

Agree with that sentiment, Brian Moore said 'theres no arms so he can't even argue he was trying to join the ruck' and I'd add, or dive for the player potentially picking the ball up to tackle. I can see what he was doing OTHER than trying to headbutt the guy - and for what? Odd..

Then again I suppose France 'got lucky' with the try/knock on thing..

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themull March 16, 2014 11:58 am

"For what"? he was trying to disrupt the player who was about to pick the ball up..Ireland were just about to concede a try so it was desperate times..he lost the head and will probably be cited.(and should have been yellow carded on the day).But its not like it was just a random headbutt..he just flew in very recklessly in desperation at trying to stop France going over the line.

As I said should have been a yellow, but since he didnt he will probably get two or three weeks..

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Vladimir March 16, 2014 1:06 pm

An Irish player getting a ban after being cited? Are you kidding? How many times Healy 'should' have been carded, 'should' have been cited and have not been?

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themull March 16, 2014 3:01 pm

Once last year against england

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 4:45 pm

He wears ankle guards now seen as he has tried snapping every other props ankles out there.

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DrG March 16, 2014 8:05 pm

We might not all be on the same wavelength when it comes to committing foul play, but if we are then take it from someone who in their first year playing senior rugby has flown into an opposition players' face at a ruck, head first.. I KNEW what I was doing, there was no revenge for something prior, no need for it, and I don't know WHY I did it, but I KNEW I was doing it and it was NOT an accident..

There was nothing 'reckless' about it...well..unless you count the fact that the guy was a monster and about 10 stone heavier than me and the fact he took a severe disliking to what I did.. that could be deemed reckless by myself... But the action itself was not reckless...

What Healy did was stupid and completely unnecessary. Red card/yellow card, 5m penalty to France, they could scrum scrum scrum all day with Healy off, perhaps get a penalty try and then the game would be over...

Healy would have been smarter rucking the French player, not headbutting him.

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 9:03 pm

This is internationnal rugby, the players (I think) should set an example.

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DrG March 16, 2014 9:43 pm

Yeh, I meant to include that part in my comment... I was an idiot at amateur level, you'd imagine as the levels progress you'd become less idiotic? Or at least the trend would follow as such..

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 10:49 pm

I think at internationnal level you should set an example. Respect is one of rugby's principals for me, and the higher you get, the more respect you should show and have, the same with being responsable. These players are peoples idols. They should know that.
That's why I agreed with PSA decisiob to drop Picamoles after clapping at the ref.
Also when Farrell put in a late hit against ireland, Cian Healy ran up to him and kind of stopped and thought (I know...I didnt know he was capable of thinking!) 'maybe I should punch Farrell'.
The commentators said that Healy a couple of years ago would have picked a fight with Farrell after the late tackle, but now he has matured as a player...
A wee bit.

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themull March 17, 2014 12:17 am

Well i'm not really defending Healy..What he did was beyond stupid and what he did last year on ole was stupid too..If he continues to be a liability then maybe its time Schmidt started punishing him in terms of game time..

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DrG March 17, 2014 12:48 am

The thing with Healy is I find he is invaluable to the Irish pack, a player of his calibre is definitely a handy thing to have, if he could only sort his noggin out sometimes (perhaps he was trying to bash some sense into himself) and mature a little bit more then he'd be fool proof...

I find that is one thing that is frustrating about players like Jim Hamilton for Scotland, he has great ability and is such a huge powerhouse, but his penalty count has to be through the roof and they're rarely 'good' penalties (ie give the opposition 3 points instead of 5-7), they're always idiotic and relatively pointless and end up costing Scotland a great attacking field position.

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FatProp March 16, 2014 11:35 pm

He tried to join the ruck but just used the Chris Benoit technique

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Colombes March 16, 2014 12:18 pm

Congrats to Ireland.
The most regular team during the whole tournament. completly deserved and a nice farewell for Brian.
Schmidt is building an interesting total rugby which is quite inspired by the Clermont of Cotter. I like their way to adapt during the game. For example, when the irishs were physically down, they used foot and their "vice" to slow the game. Signs of experience. But i wonder how Schmidt will deal with BOD absence and Darcy clear lack of fitness... It was a hard night for them vs Basta and Fickou

On France, it was a nice but messy answer to the critics. But like every 4 years, i can see les bleus performing well during the RWC despite the sceptics. Deception: An irregular scrum and the touch... Good perfs: Huget and Dulin... Prospect: The return of Dusautoir, Nyanga, Parra, FTD, Fofana who can bring more serenity if PSA want to open his damned eyes.

Healy headbutt? Will may be cited, but be assured he will received a light ban

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mise March 16, 2014 4:24 pm

Sense of relief here in Ireland with that win: so often Ireland looses to teams like France in the last few mins. While SW didn't have a bad game as ref, he's a risky erratic choice for the top games. Here, he didn't go upstairs for the French try which turned out to be a knock on, and he spent an eon over the so obvious forward pass at the end for the non-try for France. And the Healy thing was obvious too.

Ireland and england best and most consistent in the 6N, French need a SH coach asap.

Ireland have SOB and this guy comin back - check out Ferris' first action after 16 months out a couple of days ago for ulster. What_a_backrow with Ferris and SOB still to join it. Ferris, SOB and O Mahony, but with lad's playin out of position, would be the best 3 to have on the pitch, but the backrow will be insane with these 2 coming back.

http://youtu.be/ry8PZINojgo


View Video

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Fingers99 March 16, 2014 7:17 pm

Fez = A beast of a man, both Ferris and SOB came through the club route and not rugby school, country hardness as well as strength and conditioning!!
Ferris to smash 'em, SOB to Grab, poach n smash him up..... Heaslip / O Mahoney to clear the rucks...with Paulie & Donnacha Ryan / Toner in the engine room, Healy Best n Ross turning the screw....A pack to challenge any in world rugby!!

On yesterday's win, Plumtree Feek and Schmidt deserve all the plaudits they get. Instilled a real belief...the last 10 mins or so the players must have been exhausted physcially and mentally, to keep concentrations level is a credit to them all...

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stroudos March 17, 2014 8:43 am

That is a sight to behold. Love it. It's the reaction of the crowd that really makes this special though.

Tell you what, that is a masterclass in how to smash a high ball receiver too. His tiing is impeccable.

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stroudos March 17, 2014 8:43 am

*His timingis impeccable. unlike my typing.

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DanKnapp March 17, 2014 10:02 am

I love that you've made more grammatical errors in your correction than in your corrected post.

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DrG March 17, 2014 12:08 pm

I love the way he checked his run (slowed up slightly) so that he chose not to compete for the ball but to smash the guy taking it...

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 4:51 pm

Steve Walsh only looks at the big screen to see himself, I loved Brian Moores comment on BBC something like "Hopefully' he is actually injured because he is making a lot of noise!".
He made up a hand signal for a penalty on one of the scrums, he done like a wave with his hand....WTF?!
I was waiting for him to give a penalty for an LBW at one point he was that lost.

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DrG March 16, 2014 8:08 pm

I think Walsh actually did get battered at one point, because Moore made the comment about the pictures being chosen by the French media so we won't see the Walsh 'incident' or something like that..

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Ronan March 16, 2014 8:44 pm

Lads i only got to see the game in the pub yesterday, coukdnt hear the commentary very well, but i was full sure the french try that touched the base of the post was a knock on, i know walsh awarded the try without tmo help.
but it was a knock on wasnt it?
no one seems to have mentioned it?
thats a game changer,
if the french were disallowed that try their heads could have dropped!

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DrG March 16, 2014 9:48 pm

It was mentioned by all/most the commentators, I believe both Brian Moore and Eddie Butler both said it was a knock on and mentioned how it is somewhat ironic how in this day and age where referee's go upstairs for nearly everything that Walsh DIDN'T for that situation and it was actually wrong...

I suppose it hasn't really been mentioned because there haven't been any comments on here along the lines of 'ooolala Monsier Walsh has robbed us frenchies' or something like that... I'd imagine if one of those comments came out then all hell would break loose about Szarzewskis' try but as it stands Ireland won so the Irish are thrilled and I think the French are just happy they produced a good performance..

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Phil mc avity March 16, 2014 10:42 pm

France deserved the try anyway.

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DrG March 17, 2014 12:51 am

I do agree with you, I think the scoreline was perfect, France played in a way that meant they deserved to be right in the game, and Ireland played in a way that meant they deserved to win it. 22-20 was far better than 22-13..

I think if France had actually won the game, people would be sad for Ireland and BOD not to finish on a high, but they wouldn't be able to deny that France worked damn hard for the victory..

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DrG March 17, 2014 12:09 pm

*I don't disagree with you...

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Oliver March 17, 2014 8:56 am

Just some quick points here about the French coach debate:
(can't reply directly, don't know why, sorry)

- I'm no fan of Saint André but it's unfair to say he's never won anything as a coach: he won the England championship with Sale. Not to mention he captained France 34 times as a player...

- Guy Noves, Toulouse coach, refuses to coach Les Bleus.

- A SH coach for France might seem like a good idea but I don't buy it: there's a language barrier and cultural differences are too big IMO. Not to mention I prefer national teams to be national teams. For instance why should Leroux play for France? He's south-african and we have French players just as good as him in that position.

finally.......congrats to Ireland!

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DanKnapp March 17, 2014 10:04 am

Just interested as a result of the number of Frenchies posting here. I'm English but I'm keen to improve my (pretty basic) French. I would love to practice speaking about rugby if anyone is interested... If anyone wants to practice their English, perhaps we could swap...

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Vladimir March 17, 2014 2:14 pm

Fair enough but in 2004 PSA took advantage of an already restructured and competive Sale team (Cueto, Hanley, Hodgson, ...). He did the same with Bourgoing. But every time he had to work everything up from scratch or nearly, he barely did anything good : everything after him began declining. Look at Sale's result from 2005, not anywhere near what you would expect from a national champion.

I am a bit sceptical about Noves. He declined the national job because he knows the mess it is at the top. And anyway I believe that he is more suited as a club trainer where you not only pick others' players, but you can shape them up very early.

As for a SH coach in France, take Vern Cotter who took over Clermont. Nobody complains about his nationality.

But all of this won't matter because this federation won't ever change or do it right. Were PSA quit tomorrow, it would be Galthié (Montpellier, and huge coaching experience but not so much achievement) or Pelous (u21 sometime ago, lots of friends in the administration), in short all french until the end.

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Frenchie March 17, 2014 3:38 pm

Not that it matters much anymore, especially for the French haters, but I honestly think that there was no knock on. It seems to me that Swarziesky always kept contact with the ball when grounding.
I’d admit it was close but nowadays you see tons of tries granted by the refs with a minimal contact on the ball.

Healey should have been carded for the headbutt and surely would have France score points (if not a try). In 2nd half the scrum was all France…surprisingly.

A question for the experts:
On the scrum topic I read Domingo saying that for him being small it is very difficult to scrummage with the new rules. He continues that typically in France the props start the scrum “sitting” low then push the scrum ”up” and stabilize their position.
The new rules state that you should enter on a flat position (or so) but for small props this is for him very difficult.

Following Walsh warning at half time Domingo has been replaced by Debaty who is a tall prop and that worked pretty nicely for the French…is it the end of small props?

Well done Ireland

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Phil mc avity March 17, 2014 5:39 pm

Good point about props, the Lions 1997 had a small front row with worked really well against the spring boks, they managed to get under the likes of O duRant, however England in 2010 had the likes of Shezza, Thompson and Cole (who are all tall) which worked brilliantly.
So I had always thought that as long as the front frow are the same size, they will work well together.

But if the new rules aren't working well for the smaller props that could change the future of props big time.
What ever happened to Fabien Barcella?! The french prop from Auch, who went to...Biarritz I think? I thought he was immense.

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mise March 17, 2014 4:16 pm

re non-french coaches coaching France (I'm already confused! Ahem, let's plough on...)

I take the language barrier point, but something has to give. Ronan O Gara is kicking coaching over in France at the mo, and he said recently that he couldn't believe how little video analysis is done over there. I also heard another former Irish player - Bernard Jackman, currently forwards coach with Grenoble, make reference to the number of players who smoke, and how long players have to spend with fans, friends and family after the match chatting. In short, it sounds like the 1990s.

However, perhaps there are people like these two, but with years more experience, already coaching in France - ie they can speak French and know the culture. Obviously Jackman is making progress quickly - from forwards coach to possible head coach in grenoble for 2014/2015 season - but he's years off being ready.

However there could be someone currently coaching in France who could both modernise the approach and not destroy the flair culture (but maybe reduce the number of cigs smoked on matchday... :-) )

French folk? Thoughts?

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Vladimir March 17, 2014 5:41 pm

Yep, all you say is absolutely spot on. But on the contrary, in 2010, the federation spend tons of money with Areva (if I remember correctly) to build a giant mechanic spider with computer control, gps, etc, to train scrums. Only to discover now, so a year later after it was implemented, that scrumaging rules have changed and disadvantage traditional small french props (Domingo, Mas).
Federation does not want to hear about anything modifictions or improvements of the calendar of the Top 14, but spends millions in detailed studies because they want to build their own Twickenham in the south of Paris.

Quickly, from memory, concerning foreign trainers in France,
- Jackman does a really great job with limited ressources,
- Quesada does a very good job in Stade Français,
- Vern Cotter taught everything to Joe Schmidt, and made Clermont what it is today,
- Nick Mallett won twice in a row the Championship, 2003-2004 with Stade Français, then went to coach... Italy
- David Ellis, who was the defence coach of France under Lievremont in 2011, and defence was the only thing that consistently performed well during this year.

Honorable mention to Jacques Brunel who did apply for the job after the RWC but was turned down by the federation (Blanco is from Biarritz, no way he would support a catalan, hence Lagisquet in the staff of Saint-André). But Italy did not hesitate... again.

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Phil mc avity March 17, 2014 6:23 pm

I don't think the french people would like having a foreign coach... Maybe only if it's someone who is really respected for his coaching skills, like an All black coach or something like that. I would like to see Fabien Galthier or maybe Elisalde (who is either kicking coach or backs coach at Toulouse) have a chance, they know french rugby aswell as anyone and are respected by the french public.
Which I think is really important in France as the french are quick to give their opinion. Which isn't a bad thing, they also like a good moan. So I think the french need someone who is already respected for what he has done. I thought Lievremont would have been good, but I think he was getting more and more like Martin Johnson's coaching.

I agree with the amount of players smoking, its shocking.
I'm from the south west of France, and I know players at clubs like Auch,Pau,Albi and Mont de Marsan. And a lot smoke. But I know a couple of youngsters at Toulouse and Toulouse is very professionnal. The money side probably helps, and they are a bigger club but their academy is brilliant.
I don't know what the academies are like in England, but I think the RFU are doing a good job and investing a lot into youngsters rugby. Also the RFU coaching school or whatever you call it is great. The equipement provided...etc is the muts nuts.

As you said about the Grenoble not doing much viedo time, that's interesting, I said at the begging of the six nations that I think what is brilliant for IRE,ENG, WAL and SCO is that on the BBC people like Gusgott, Wood, Davies (I cant stand Nicol) but give their views and talk about what lines people ran well...etc. At half time they often have Austin healey or Clive woodward shoing and explaining clips of the first half where players went wrong and right. Where as in France at half time you mainly get adverts!
Which is a shame. Maybe it won't affect the internationnal game but I'm sure you've got loads of youngsters out there listening to that info

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Frenchie March 17, 2014 6:53 pm

@ mise:

all this seems a bit cliché, the smoking, chatting...but i do see a cultural clash there in the sense that probably the French enjoy some relaxing time, separate work and after work.

On the coaching side: the french team is missing a good kicker when Parra is out. I guess not having much video analysis around kicking is the reason why ROG has been hired...surely the French clubs should have that.
Since Saint André is on the job we do not have a defense coach and that is quite incredible...I don't get that.

On a more general note I do think that the French are still lagging behind in terms of coaching. Besides Guy Noves & Galthié I don't see who could get the job. Noves has turned down the job, Galthié hasn't been chosen.

@ Vladimir
I think Vern Cotter would have been perfect for the job: he's been there for a long time, has had good results, built a fabulous team.

The French Federation is for me an archaic organisation, attached to traditions. It's an Institution in the bad sense. French rugby has tons of talent (the U20 just won the Grand slam) but the transition to top competition is slow and to the National team even slower; example taken with Fickou. French rugby needs a younger/clever management team turned towards a modern rugby.

If Clubs & Federation work together, talents are recognised early and involved at the highest level things will get better.

The French need to be better one 1 to 1, individual technic: 2 forward passes against Ireland...

In NZ being young is not a problem if you're talented and have a potential. if so you get the chance. In France in the same situation you need to sit on the bench and play the last 10 min for xx games. The FFR love its soldiers, old fames and the guys are playing until they retire. In NZ you see new talents coming all the time.

Same in England with the likes of Owens, Launchburry, Burrell...and these play already at a very good level; you don't need to teach them how to pass.


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Frenchie March 17, 2014 7:06 pm

I scorched names...sorry. Farrell, Burrell, Nowel...

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Phil mc avity March 17, 2014 11:24 pm

I agree, why hasn't Tolofua been named in the french squad?! England, picked 35 players for the six nations, and had around 3-4 20 year olds uncapped who came through the -20s and who have being brilliantly for their clubs (Watson, Ford, Nowell), France only picked Fickou.

I think in France, after the young players finish the under 20s they're forgotten about (a part from the odd Fickou once every 3-4 years). Where as I think those young players need to keep their confidence (once they've come out of the under 20s) and keep it going, it's a big step for them to go from Crabos or Espoir (under 18 or B team) to starting in an A team and they need to keep their confidence, I think they are forgotten about, if that makes sense.

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Oliver March 18, 2014 9:01 am

Sorry guys, but I still think most French fans would have a heart attack if les Bleus' coach gave a press conference with an English accent! Myself included I'm afraid.

Also it seems to me quite a few of young French players have been drafted lately, not as much as in the English squad but still: Plisson (22), Fickou (19), Vahamahina (22), Bonneval (23), Dulin (23) plus Guitoune, Slimani, Lapandry, Lauret and Flanquart (24). The French team now is totally different from 2 years ago.
Another exemple of a French player starting internationaly young: Parra had his first cap at 19 and he has 53 now, at 25. And I really think we need him back in the squad by the way.

One thing I do agree with: the commentary is so much better on the BBC! It was particularly bad on France 2 for the France-Ireland game...

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Reality March 18, 2014 11:33 am

Is it as bad as that though regarding foreign coaches? The reason I ask is that at Toulon there's barely anyone on the team who speaks French, the captain talks to the team and to the press in French, Trevor Brennan was captain at Toulouse and didn't exactly hide his Dublin accent very well, then there are Bernard Jackman at Grenbole, O'Gara at Racing, probably loads of others elsewhere. Are they so averse to having foreigners in important positions?

Or is it different at club and national levels? Although, even the national team has a South African, doesn't it? Classens, or something like that.

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Oliver March 18, 2014 1:07 pm

yes I do believe it's very different at club level and national team, as it represents the country. But hey, that's my 2 cents, I could be wrong.

By the way, have England or New Zealand had a foreign coach before? It just seems too easy a fix to me.

And yes a few foreign players (Tony Marsh, De Villiers, Claasens, Leroux among others) have played for France, but I'm not a big fan of that solution either.

Also: almost half the Toulon team is french! Don't believe the Clermont supporters ;-)

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Frenchie March 18, 2014 11:48 am

@ Oliver
These young players have been drafted but I still think it’s too shy: besides Plisson and Fickou the others have mostly sat on the bench and played very limited time.

Lauret is a good example although not exactly new. He has had a few selections already, is a physical guy and has potential, yet how much has he played for this year’s 6N? I’d be curious.
Then why selecting Vahaamahina (plays as lock in club) as flanker instead of Lauret who plays flanker in his club?
The next WC is coming fast, I think only 12 international games until the WC (?) There’s no time to have talented players polish the bench; they need some time on the pitch now.

I'd like to see what a foreign coach (he has to be from Southern Hemisphere) would do? Surely he would bring more professionalism, a more clinical way of playing, more
game plan.

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Oliver March 18, 2014 1:22 pm

(bon, puisqu'on est entre ‘froggies’, autant te répondre en français !!)

Je ne veux pas du tout défendre toutes les décisions de PSA, loin de là. Mais je trouve quand même qu'il a pas mal rajeuni l'équipe. Maintenant, c'est sûr que pour la coupe du monde, on n'a aucune certitude !
Le gros problème pour moi, c'est la charnière, et j'espère retrouver l'association Parra/Trin Duc avant la saint glin glin….
En tout cas, si un jour un Néo-Z ou autres nous fait gagner le titre mondial, je mangerais mon chapeau avec plaisir !!

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Phil mc avity March 18, 2014 4:52 pm

Qu'est ce que c'est moche 'Froggies'...bref.
Je suis d'accord pour la charnière, Parra-Trinh Duc pour moi, marchait toujours bien. D'ailleurs j'ai jamais vraiment compris pourquoi T Duc a perdu sa place en 2012-2013.
Y'en avaient qui disaient qu'il jouait trop pour lui et rentrait pas dans le style de jeu des autres...
Cependant Plisson a été bon contre les anglais, et avec Parra en 9 qui lui enleve un peu de pression pour les coups de pieds, il pourrait plus se concentrer sur son jeu.
Franchement je suis dans le sud Ouest et les gens detesteraient voir un entraineur etranger avec l'équipe de France, c'est pas raciste ou quoi ils vont juste avoir l'impression que..."Un français n'est pas assez bon pour le faire?".
C'est en quelque sorte une question de fierté. D'ailleurs je me demande si les All blacks ont deja eu un entraineur etranger, et les Anglais aussi??

Je pense qu'il est quand meme tres important de respecter et integrer des jeunes au plus vite, vu qu'ils sont l'avenir du rugby français.

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