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@Justice. was just looking back at this page. you really are a character. truly incorrigible :)
PS those stormers are looking good!!
Posted 08:29 01st May 2012
Personally,.. I don't see much wrong with the players on the field,.. the flyhalf position could have more depth but thats for the Top 14 to sort out,.. but it's a better side than we saw in this 6N,.. I think Saint-André was tactically naive and I often went from awe to disbelief in the space of 5 minutes while watching them,.. I just didn't get what the were trying to do with the ball,... I think before anyone pulls apart the team they should look at the coach,.. I saw a fantastic lineup of players with their hands tied behind their backs.
Posted 08:38 27th March 2012
@mlbp. wow, thanks for your posts! it's not often people take the time to really write and analyse. i think many people who have followed France over the years will share many of your thoughts. let's hope and pray that some of the old va va voom will return. allez!!
Posted 14:09 25th March 2012
I'm not French but France is the team I follow more closely. I agree with you that France like playing with number 9 calling the shots. I don't know if it started when Berbizier was playing or even before, with Fouroux as scrum half (I don't think I was born when he played for France, or I was just two or three at the time). Parra's pass from rucks is really slow. I think it's Kiwirooster who says that Trinh-Duc needs a fast and physical 9 in front of him to keep him on the front foot so he doesn't have to kick so much or take the defence while standing still. I don't know if the new guy Doussain could be the future. Tillous-Borde was physical and quick when he played for France but he used to make tactical errors. For the good of this sport France should go back to its ways of old. I didn't agree much with Laporte, I liked the Lièvremont of the first year (actually of his first two matches that tournament, then he started playing different combinations every match and at the end France were a shambles). He won a Grand Slam but I didn't like the style France used. It seems to be a common trend with coaches, they start their tenures saying that they will play inventive and open rugby (I remember PdV saying that!) and in the end they revert to playing percentage rugby if not 10-man rugby with forward-oriented and pragmatic even cynical tactics. If this is the future of this sport I may have to go back to my collection of taped matches... I just want to see inventiveness in matches, flair... I have just re-watched the France-NZ match from RWC 1999 and the French were a total disaster that year, Galthié ended up being the choice 9 when he wasn't even in the squad at the beginning of the RWC, N'Tamack played 12, Lamaison 10... And they pulled off the greatest match this sport has seen in a RWC... Maybe they have to be with their backs against the wall always.
Posted 02:10 25th March 2012
It's 'would have' not 'would of'.
Posted 23:44 24th March 2012
@mlbp - I'm often guilty of a post containing long analytical text that most people probably don't read - but you've taken it to a new level! Agree with the vast majority of what you say.
Regarding the props - you're sorted at loosehead, personally I think Debaty will come good as an international tight head, he just needs some time. As for the 9s, France have always played rugby with the 9 making the decisions, it's a great system when it works. Yachvilli was the man but he's getting old, mind you he doesn't take many bumps and he's a solid character so I expect him to go on but if PSA is going to play him he's got to give him the whip hand, the first half against Wales was a shambles. Parra should make it, he's just been playing in a stagnant side too long, plus that allows Trinh Duc to play 10 as Parra can goal kick. Alternatively go for Parra at 10 and a straight scrum half (if you have one, surely you must).
Wales and France traditionally bring lovely rugby to the 6 nations - I'm not knocking the other teams, but that's how it is - this year Wales didn't but we won the slam so it's being ignored a bit in Wales at the moment, France haven't played good rugby since Laporte was coach, all I want is to see some flair again from you, what happened to it?
Posted 21:44 24th March 2012
Medard is an excellent full back, and Poitrenaud was safe with his hands and counter attacked well, although his defence was not as good as expected. Buttin looks like a good prospect. There may be other full backs in the making in France, land of some of the greatest (the unforgettable Serge, Sadurny, soooooo underrated in his days, Castaignede, when he played here he was a demon).
I expect Saint-Andre to give direction to this team. I don't know what Lagisquet wants from the backs. Another problem seems to be the gruelling Top14 season and the enormous number of foreign players. I don't know what kind of squad PSA will take to Argentina, he may just look at the younger ones and take an experimental team to build from scratch, or he may just introduce a few players to the team gradually. After such a hard season (after the world cup the players and an almost non-stop Six Nations players like Dusautoir must be standing on half a leg) there may be too many injured and out of form players. But this is the time when France can find its own character. Let's hope for the good of the sport that PSA is the man to do it.
Posted 17:38 24th March 2012
Yachvili slowed the rhythm a lot but at least he made good decisions and he can pass quickly when it is necessary. His box kicks are excellent and he's a reliable place kicker. Parra has to learn a lot still. He may be a better fly half than a scrum half. I don't know what happens to many of the French scrum halves, who seem to be also fly halves. A fellow contributor here said once that in the Top14 it looks as if the positions are interchangeable. Elissalde and Michalak are other examples.
France need to find a reliable fly half. I like Trinh-Duc, his physicality and defence, his runs, his way of moving the line forward, but he looked lost this year at times (the result of the team's tactics, I suppose). I can't see him as a full back, though, maybe as a 12, but Fofana seems to be the man for that position. I haven't seen Wisniewski, some contributors here say that he could be the man to give direction to this team. Beauxis if let to play freely (and not only kicking) could be the man. I believe they only use him as a one-dimensional fly half when he has more to offer than that.
I would like to see more of Estebanez. His stupid red card during the RWC didn't let us see his true potential. Mermoz and David were fantastic a few years ago against South Africa, they can be the future together with the excellent Fofana. Rougerie looked lost sometimes, though I thought during the World Cup that he would be another Tana Umaga, being able to make the transition from winger to 13. He had excellent moments during some matches (the last twenty minutes against England, he was ferocious) but as he was poor other times.
Clerc had a quiet tournament and Malzieu was explosive at the beginning and later didn't get the ball so he had to go into midfield to play at least a bit. France never moved the ball to the wingers, and that was sad.
Posted 17:32 24th March 2012
France are missing two of the best props in the world in Barcella and Domingo. They were excellent when scrummaging and in the loose. It's a pity they are competing for the same spot, though. If they gain full match fitness France will have solved some of their front-row woes, but I wonder who is going to be their tight head in future years. Ducalcon doesn't look good enough, Poux is running out of steam (still I don't think he's as good as Barcella or Domingo), master Mas may be getting a bit old, Debaty has a lot to prove still, the young Marconnet would be so useful for this team... The hooker position will turn into a nightmare now that Servat is going. They talk about Guirado or Kayser. There are too many foreign front rowers in the Top14 not letting the young talent gain experience.
The lock position looks quite healthy with Maestri, Pierre, Millo-Chluski and Pape in his second prime. The loose forwards are full of talent and they still have some future, they might reach RWC 2015. Harinordoquy was superb during the tournament, never giving an inch and he can be there in the next four years, Picamoles will be a force to be reckoned with in the future, Dusautoir is one of the best defensive players (I rate him above the current Lydiate and next to Kaino and Juan Smith), Nyanga and Ouedraogo with Wenceslas Lauret can be more than useful cover for these positions. Some new players will emerge in these positions for sure.
Scrum half proves to be a difficult position for France. As the teams in France don't know what style of play to favour there are different types of scrummies but none seem to fit the national team. Parra delays the pass too much most times. The ball is won on the ground at the back of the ruck and he takes three seconds to pass, that is too long. Trinh-Duc or whoever is there can't do much with that kind of ball.
Posted 17:21 24th March 2012
This is the continuation of the previous post.
Dusautoir leads by example, he's all mortar and bricks on the field, he's a no-nonsense player who puts his body on the line but I am afraid he is not the right kind of skipper. I don't know how he communicates with his teammates before, during and after the matches. He's in every ruck, his tackles are like hammer blows, he even wins lineouts, but he doesn't impose himself when it's necessary. The RWC pool games against NZ and Tonga were a clear example. I expected him to be boiling over and yelling and rousing his troops, but he just played on alone and acted with his fellow teammates as if leaving all hope. He never complains to the referees in any way (I wonder about his command of English, it's sad that France is somehow penalized in that sense because the players have to communicate with the refs in English). When Craig Joubert penalized France again and again in the scrum for engaging too early (a dubious call in most cases) in very dangerous situations for Wales he never confronted the referee and even said something like "my players are not engaging early". I'm not asking for a football-style kind of skippering the team but Dusautoir is too soft as a skipper and with the current tendency towards the star-refs (they are gaining more protagonism now than they ever had in the history of this sport) maybe a Richie McCaw style or an O'Driscoll-O'Connell approach (talking more to the referee, asking for explanations and explaining the teammates's actions) would be more desirable. The same when Trinh-Duc was penalized for throwing the ball away near the end of the match. It was a bit stupid of him but certainly it wasn't a penalty as he was out of bounds already. Just Dusautoir making himself heard more often would help his team. He's the kind of player who would always be in my team, a true servant of his country.
Posted 17:08 24th March 2012
I agree with most of the opinions in the article by Mr Hastie. France have traditionally been a country where rugby is played in a way that the players can express their natural talent, but there are far too many foreign imports and the local teams seem to be losing their structure and their natural tendencies, so the Top 14 is devoid of creativity and is now full of grit, the opposite of what it was like a few years ago. It was sad to see a French team winning a Grand Slam a couple of seasons ago (based on opportunism and defence only, I criticized the French way of winning that year) and this season it was the same again. The tactical decisions made by the coaching staff were baffling and the choice of players at least surprising.
I have mixed feelings about Beauxis. I don't think he is a one-dimensional fly half but he is told to play as if he were. Kicking for territory and kicking garryowens was not a natural style for France (look at the chase by the backs, they don't seem to be comfortable with that system of play) and yet again Beauxis and Yach were told to do that time and time again against the likes of Kearney (sublime under the high ball) and Halfpenny. I wonder who's calling the shots on the field, if the team is forward-oriented and the scrum half is the one making the tactical decisions or if it's a team that wants to release the potential of their backs making use of all the possibilities available for the fly half. The players have appeared lost these last three seasons at least because they don't seem to know the style of play.
It is as if the players didn't have the right attitude at times, too. Against Italy and Scotland they looked to be playing in first gear and only struck second gear when in difficulties. The tactic of going for drop goals is another example, they don't want to make the hard yards, it's easier to sit back and score drop goals.
Posted 16:57 24th March 2012
@ Tmmacadam: the French U20 won 4 out of their 5 games during that 6N. Only lost to Ireland by one point so there is still hope but the question is how they will evolve with so many foreigners at club level.
Posted 15:25 24th March 2012
France are currently a walking advert for everything that is bad about modern professional rugby. I'm not even French and I'm annoyed with their rugby, what happened boys?
Fofana is a great addition - I know lets move him to the wing so he doesn't get the ball, and tell Yachvilli to kick everything, regardless of what's outside him, and we'll put Beauxis at 10 just in case Yachvilli decides to pass it. Aaagh, it almost devalues the Slam.
Posted 21:28 23rd March 2012
Is there only me who thinks that Trinh-Duc is a fantastic player? Yes he's not a goal kicker and he smoetimes tries to play in bad areas, but he is one of the best at getting the backline going and thats when France are at their best.
Posted 21:10 23rd March 2012
PSA i think had a final farewell to alot of the old guard .After all its France and i suppose there would have been revolution and eruptions at the FIR if he hadnt proved the RWC finalists tag was a lucky fluke.There is no lack of talant in France thats for sure and it does amaze me that everyone goes on about Englands players numbers .Totally forgetting that the vast majority will never be anywhere near proffessional standard let alone international.France for proffessional players are on a par with England imo .But no one ever critieses France on that score when they dont win / perform.As to the summer yes there will be alot of new faces i feel in the France squad. I think the halves will be Parra and Winesski(appologises for spelling) myself and Boardes i feel will traval aswell
Posted 18:41 23rd March 2012
Very disappointing, the problem is the fly-half but also the scrum-half, incapable of unleashing the best backline in Europe.
Rougerie is also out of role at 13 and should be dropped. The other 12 are outstanding and can challenge everybody.
Posted 18:12 23rd March 2012
To be fair someone has to lose games and France are clearly still their old, unreliable selves...the big questions I think are at 2 where Servat has been outstanding for years, 14 where Clerc will soon be retiring from, (maleizue or however you spell it is still pretty good, he just needs more time to settle at international level) and France will require someone with his knack of consistently scoring. Rougerie will be fairly easy to replace with Fritz playing well and I don't see why the current props wouldn't make the next world cup...it's only 3 years, two 35 year old props wouldn't go too badly in the scrum if you ask me...
Posted 18:08 23rd March 2012
I think the RWC and 6N typified what many of us think of France: awesome on their day, but so very unpredictable. You just never know what you're going to get. It's like those sweets - Revels - they all look the same, yet the centre's different.
I think the three in the photo - Wesley Fofana, Yoan Maestri and Maxime Medard - were the stars for the tournament. They are also the future, so their future is very bright.
Argentina will be a great place to blood new players, under the guidance of the fantastic Thierry Dusautoir.
Posted 16:22 23rd March 2012