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
The results during the first two rounds of this season’s Heineken Cup were a clear indicator that the Pro12 League, sponsored by RaboBank, has become a strong league in European Rugby. Just how strong remains to be seen – possibly by season’s end – but evidence-based assessments suggest that it is right up there with France’s Top 14 and England’s Premiership competitions.
Orange and Canal+ executives must have been appalled by the carnage among the Top 14 clubs in the first weekend of the H Cup 2011. French rugby should be on the crest of a wave following the RWC2011 renaissance but Clermont, Racing, Castres, Biarritz all bit the dust, with Toulouse the only French H Cup winners on the weekend. In truth new-boys Montpellier salvaged the pride of Les Tricouleurs rugby with a gutsy draw against European champions Leinster, which could even have been a victory. Continue reading