Play La Marseillaise; Play It!

Freddie’s back at No10 and Les Bleus have scored 94 points in three games in front of clamourous home crowds, hammering the Wallabies 33-6 before gutting the Pumas 39-19, then breaking down a super-physical Samoan challenge to ride out 22-14 winners and end their series undefeated. Something is very, very right with French rugby at the moment. That isn’t a good advent for Ireland, but it does wonders for the rugby world as a whole. Continue reading

National Stereotypes and Psychology

E crept past S, who were hammered by W, who won late against I, so E v I = ?

The English never fear the French. The French never fear the Irish. The Irish no longer fear the Welsh. The French are always wary of the Scots. The Welsh fear nobody, but hate the Irish (according to Gatland). The Scots always fancy themselves against the English. The Irish don’t know how to beat the French and when it happens it’s by accident. Ireland love the English as favourites, and always assume they can beat them. Continue reading

Philippe Saint André Has The Toughest Job In Rugby

The three amigos of the new French coaching set-up. Their players haven't given them what they've been looking for, but what are they giving the players?

The Mole was more than a little surprised when Philippe Saint André was announced as France’s next coach before RWC11. Despite the fact that France came as near as you can feasibly come to winning the trophy as you can get without actually winning it, the Lievremont era had degenerated into farce, and it was clear that the next coach had to be less volatile, more media savvy and more experienced. Continue reading

Bob Dwyer on France vs Ireland

Green & Gold Rugby is a smashing site for all your SH rugby needs – and some of your NH ones too. Here’s a good article from Bob Dwyer on last Sunday’s France vs Ireland draw.

Dwyer has certain tenets that can might seem a little repetitive if you’re a regular reader, but then again a tenet is something that is an unchanging principle: it should be repetitive.

France 17 – 17 Ireland – Match Reaction #1: Halfbacks

Francois Trinh-Duc: the French outhalf struggled to put shape on the game when the Plan A – Bash It Up The Outhalf Channel – fell on its face.

The Mole thought in the build-up to the game that the absence of Yachvilli was overplayed by some commentators. Parra is such an accomplished operator in his own right, and is perhaps a little more dangerous as a runner.  However, Yachvili has a wealth of experience that Parra can’t yet hope to compete with, and it showed in a couple of circumstances.  Continue reading