Following a rollercoaster 2017 RBS 6 Nations, France’s Louis Picamoles insists it is time for Les Bleus to recognise the quality in their ranks and increase their levels of self-belief.
Category Archive: France Rugby
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When I was young the Championship was a time to get together with the whole family.
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At the conclusion of the 2017 RBS 6 Nations a total of 12 players have been shortlisted for the Player of the Championship award.
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At the conclusion of the 2017 RBS 6 Nations a total of 12 players have been shortlisted for the Player of the Championship award.
Permanent link to this article: http://www.rbs6nations.com/en/news/france/31570.php
It was a tournament to savour, with the standard of play and level of ferocity increasing, but unfortunately the Italians are being left behind
Come Monday morning the players will be back at work with their clubs, getting ready for the next round of league fixtures.
Their schedules leave them precious little time to heal their wounds, even less to rest and reflect on what has gone on these past few weeks. Rugby has never been an easy living but in this Six Nations some of the Tests, especially the three between England, Ireland and Wales, were so ferocious that watching them felt a guilty pleasure.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/mar/20/england-six-nations-wales-ireland-france-scotland-italy
Kevin Gourdon was delighted with the way France held their nerve in their dramatic victory over Wales on Super Saturday.
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France engineered victory in Paris but at what price when considering the livid bite mark on the left arm of Wales’ George North
We could have another bloodgate on our hands. Whether you believe Dean Richards’s misdemeanour was the vilest crime perpetrated against a trusting world or just another storm in a teacup, the fact is it came with a three-year ban – and there is little to distinguish it from the manoeuvre France appear to have engineered in Paris. What’s more, unlike Harlequins’ fast one, France’s worked. In the most dramatic of circumstances.
Camille Chat’s try, at the end of the 100th minute of a game that seemed as if it would never end, secured France the win that clinches their first finish in the top three of the Six Nations since 2011. But the method by which they secured it is sure to attract the attention of the folk with access-all-areas badges. And then there’s the livid bite mark on the left arm of George North. That’s sure to be investigated too.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/mar/19/france-prevail-wales-dark-arts-bloodgate-reminder-guy-noves-george-north
• Rob Howley angry over replacement of Uini Atonio for alleged head injury
• Wales’s George North left with bite marks on arm after Six Nations match
The fallout from the extraordinary climax to France’s victory over Wales – secured 20 minutes after the 80 were up – looks set to run. Rob Howley, Wales’s coach, has accused the French of undermining the integrity of the game. He cited, as well, a distinct bite mark on the left arm of George North as further evidence of malpractice in those climactic final minutes.
Wales were facing a series of scrums on their five-metre line, defending a five-point lead, when France brought back on their best scrummager, Rabah Slimani, so that Uini Atonio might go for an alleged head injury assessment. Howley believes it was a tactical switch, which is against the laws of the game.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/18/wales-rob-howley-accuses-france-six-nations
Guy Noves was delighted by the character shown by his France side as they battled to a dramatic last-gasp victory over Wales in their final 2017 RBS 6 Nations clash.
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Brice Dulin was named man of the match for France in their 20-18 victory over Wales at the Stade de France.
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• France 20-18 Wales
• Game lasts almost 100 minutes in astonishing last play
Extraordinary scenes. This was the sort of game to enrage the French, but notice of their revival has been served by the manner in which they found a way to the win, while chaos and insanity reigned. A full 20 minutes after the 80 minutes was up, they finally barged their way to victory with a try by Camille Chat, the conversion of which clinched France’s third win of the tournament.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/18/france-wales-six-nations-match-report
France prevailed after one of the most dramatic, chaotic conclusions to a game in Six Nations history, with nearly 20 minutes of extra time played before the hosts scored a converted try to snatch victory
That brings this MBM to a close. After all the late drama, I will leave the final word to a reader I know Dan greatly enjoyed talking rugby with. Here’s Matt Dony:
“Many have said it more eloquently than me already, but Dan’s passing is a ridiculous loss. Gary Naylor’s tweet absolute nails-on-the-head the whole MBM world. I’ve never met any of the writers, or the regular contributors, but the names have all become familiar parts of my sporting enjoyment.
What it means is that France move into second place, ending Scotland’s chances of finishing as runners-up. That will have been an unbearable final passage of play for them, too. England already have the title, but they’re going for the grand slam in Dublin right now. Join Michael Butler for that:
An awful lot to take in from almost 20 minutes of extra time. Rabah Slimani was allowed to come back on, Samson Lee’s absence was effectively curtailed by other delays, and I’ve no idea why Barnes didn’t just award a penalty try after repeatedly blowing up for Welsh trangressions. It was a glorious shambles; Dan would have loved it.
Lopez kicks the conversion, and after a dull, scrappy game, one of the most bizarre conclusions to a game in rugby history ends in an unbelievably dramatic French victory!
This is absolutely extraordinary. After another France advantage Antoine Dupont, the only player with any energy left, keeps driving for the line. Dan Biggar kicks the ball on the floor – meaning he’ll be sin-binned when play stops – but France keep pushing, and they finally haul the ball over the line! It looks like replacement hooker Camille Chat got the score.
98 mins: Happily, we can play on, and the scrum goes again. The Welsh pack are turned, and Barnes gives the visitors a warning. If it happens again, there will be another yellow card – and potentially even a penalty try.
96 mins: Nicky Smith is on for Rob Evans. It’s another penalty advantage for France, and another scrum. This half kicked off over an hour ago. And now there’s reportedly an issue with the fourth official…
95 mins: We’re seeing replays of Dulin on the floor, close to North’s right leg. The TMO tells Barnes there is no conclusive evidence. Back to the French scrum.
93 mins: There will be another stoppage here, as Barnes checks with TMO. The reason? George North is claiming he was bitten, and there’s a mark to prove it. This would be an extraordinary end to the game.
91 mins: France get an advantage, but push for the line – first through Dupont, then Fickou down the left. They run out of forward momentum, and we’re going back to that scrum. And Samson Lee is coming back on!
90 mins: Two more minutes, and Samson Lee will be able to come back on…
89 mins: Another French penalty, and this time Picamoles kicks from hand and lunges for the line. Wales close the door, France switch to the left, but the ball is spilled. France had an advantage, and we’re back where we started. France scrum, three metres out.
87 mins: France and Wales have now spent the best part of 10 minutes trying to put together an acceptable scrum…
83 mins: There is a long, slightly farcical stoppage as Wales sort out their substitutes. Tomas Francis eventually comes on for Leigh Halfpenny, after convincing Barnes he is fit to return. The scrum leads to a French penalty and another French scrum, as the clock ticks on…
81 mins: From the scrum, Picamoles barges to within inches of the line, but Wales hold on. Chouly repeats the trick, offloading to Dupont. France have a penalty advantage, and will get another chance. Samson Lee is shown a yellow card in that melee, and will have to hang on with 14 men! This is extraordinary drama.
80 mins: The suspense is drawn out as Barnes resets the scrum a couple more times, before Uini Antonio goes off, replaced by Rabah Slimani. The French doctor confirms Antonio has a head injury. After a long wait, play restarts…
79 mins: France have a scrum, five metres out. It’s now or never. Barnes warns Wales to hold their weight, and the scrum is reset twice. The referee’s fastidiousness is irritating the French pack, but this is a crucial moment…
78 mins: France knocking at the door here, replacement scrum-half Dupont wriggling beyond two tackles. The hosts inch to within five metres, and get a penalty advantage, but Wales stand firm.
77 mins: Yoann Huget and Julien Le Devedec are on for France, with the former stripped of the ball by Warburton. The captain tries a grubber kick that splits the French defence, but runs just out of play beyond the try-line.
75 mins: Tipuric and Warburton lead the way in tackles; Wales have smothered France in this second half. France need a converted try, or their campaign will end in bitter disappointment.
73 mins: Can Wales get over the line? They bring on Samson Lee, and bring back Ross Moriarty, trying to hold their makeshift pack together for another seven minutes.
Barnes gives Wales another penalty, this time for a high tackle on Ken Owens, as the crowd vent their fury. Halfpenny scores from close range, and Wales restore their five point advantage.
“Thanks for publishing all the memories of Dan. It feels odd watching the Six Nations and knowing that Dan’s gloriously splenetic (but scrupulously fair) commentary isn’t accompanying it today” says Oliver Bevan.
“Having left the UK a few years ago, I relied on Dan’s excellent commentary. I’ll miss him but am proud of what he established and proud to help continue building it. Also, this is an indescribably lovely, painfully honest, absolutely fitting tribute to Dan by his girlfriend, Liz.”
Francois Trinh-Duc comes on for Lamerat rather than Lopez, and France power forward, winning a penalty under the posts. Lopez scores France’s first points in over 50 minutes of play.
Slowly but surely, Wales are inching their way to victory here – but there’s still a long 15 minutes to go, particularly with their pack less sturdy with replacements coming in; Scott Baldwin has just come in for Jake Ball.
A fifth successful penalty for Leigh Halfpenny, sending a low kick between the posts.
63 mins: Barnes is not the most popular with this Paris crowd, but he’s correct to penalise a nudge at the lineout, preventing Tipuric claiming the ball. Halfpenny lines up another one…
62 mins: Faletau strips the ball from French hands, before Tipuric sweeps it out wide to Liam Williams, who is short of support.
60 mins: Wales continue to soak up France’s breaks forward, but Serin finds a precise diagonal kick to move them upfield. Replacement Chouly is forced out of touch, and France have 20 minutes to find a breakthrough.
58 mins: Liam Williams, prone on the right touchline, does well to stop Fickou, and George North continues the impressive defence from the Welsh backs, proving a match for Guirado. The French crowd take a break from booing Wayne Barnes to belt out La Marseillaise.
“I loved Dan’s take on cricket and rugby; his passion and enthusiasm always seemed to pervade his work” says Robert Shaw.
“Even with lacklustre games he made it worthwhile following his commentary. He seemed to lack the cynicism of many and would have been great company to chew the fat at close of play.”
55 mins: Changes for France too. Rabah Slimani, Cyril Baille and Fabien Sanconnie go off, replaced by Uini Antonio, Eddy Ben Arous and Damien Chouly.
54 mins: Changes for Wales, with Jamie Roberts and Luke Charteris on for Scott Williams and Ross Moriarty.
Wales take the lead! Halfpenny’s kick is inch-perfect, his fourth penalty completing his team’s comeback from a ten-point deficit.
52 mins: Alun Wyn Jones is going off, replaced by Luke Charteris with Sam Warburton returning to a familiar role as team captain. Wales win a penalty from the scrum. It’s on the halfway line, close to the touchline, but the in-form Leigh Halfpenny will have a go…
51 mins: Scott Williams drops the ball and Fickou gathers. France kick clear, Tipuric doing well to protect the ball, and Wales win the scrum.
49 mins: Given both sides’ prior efforts in this year’s tournament, it’s perhaps no great surprise that this has become a bit of a scrap. Dulin collects a sliced kick from Liam Williams, but is bundled into touch.
47 mins: France get the momentum and the Welsh scrum subsides. Another put-in for France with the visitors looking vulnerable – but the hosts concede a penalty, and the crowd make their feelings known.
46 mins: After a stoppage for Webb and the unfortunate Guirado to get patched up, play restarts with a French scrum…
@niallmcveigh Dan took his sport seriously enough to know and care about it and lightly enough to find its joy and humour. MBMing nailed.
45 mins: Webb’s kick is charged down and France have an unexpected opening – Wales are penalised for crossing, but France run out of room after juggling the ball along the touchline.
44 mins: …Lopez then kicks towards Liam Williams, before finding touch with his next attempt.
43 mins: Guirado, who has been able to continue after suffering with injury in the first half, collects from a French line-out. Serin sends the ball high into the sky, before Biggar returns the favour…
42 mins: Alun Wyn Hones is in need of treatment after both packs collided in the opening minutes. Wales are sticking with the plan that worked against Ireland; getting the forward play and fundamentals right to frustrate their arguably more artistic opponents.
We are back under way, with just one point separating the sides.
Here are a couple more lovely tributes to Dan:
“So sad that Dan Lucas has gone. He was a wonderful writer whose work made every match much more enjoyable. If I couldn’t be with friends to watch England play he made me feel like I was watching with a friend. A witty and knowledgeable one with an enviable turn of phrase. Missing his company as the Six Nations concludes” – Max Swooth
A message from Dan’s father, Gary:
“Just a word from the Lucas family (mum Tracey, sister Kirsty) and girlfriend Liz to thank all MBM and OBOers for their kind words. They really mean a lot. It is so good to know that people could see the Dan we knew and makes us very proud.”
Lopez returns, but his kick-off is grasped by North, and Wales have one more attack. France turn the ball over, and kick for touch to end the first half.
After a moment’s thought, Wales decide to take the three points on offer, Halfpenny slotting the ball over from close range.
37 mins: From a Welsh scrum, the ball is chipped forward and Scott Williams breaks clear of a tackle. Wales get an advantage and work the ball to the right – but Tipuric is forced to scoop the ball from the floor, and Dulin makes the tackle.
36 mins: Guirado is again down, receiving treatment for what looks like a shoulder injury. It’s been a tough half in terms of injuries for the hosts.
34 mins: There’s been a brief lull in intensity, with both sides exchanging kicks, the match finely poised as half-time approaches.
32 mins: Wales have rallied after France’s slow start, with George North winning a penalty to relieve pressure after slick passing from Serin. Vatakawa has returned to the fray, but fly-half Camille Lopez is off, being treated for a head injury.
“Shocked and saddened to hear about the awful news of Dan Lucas passing away” says Dennis O’Neill.
“I’d just like to add my voice to those who offer their sincere condolences to his family, his partner, and you and everyone else at the Guardian on such a terrible and unexpected loss.
“I knew Dan’s work through the cricket OBOs and always looked forward to his work. I’ll miss him.”
Wales decide to go for goal from the halfway line, and another precise Halfpenny kick cuts the deficit to four points.
26 mins: Biggar leaps to collect Serin’s kick and Wales hold onto the ball, Jake Ball crashing through tackles before France are caught offside…
25 mins: Serin is back on for France after receiving treatment. France need a win – no bonus points required – to stake their claim for second place, although if Ireland beat England later, it’s academic.
23 mins: Urgency from Wales as they look to capitalise on their numerical advantage – but Biggar’s awkward kick cedes possession and Nakaitaci smartly carries the ball downfield.
21 mins: Wales have a foothold in the game, and captain Alun Wyn Jones wins the ball from the line-out. A change at scrum-half for France, young Antoine Dupont replacing Baptiste Serin.
Wales elect to kick, Halfpenny using up two minutes of Vakatawa’s enforced absence lining up the kick. It pays off, as he hooks a tricky effort between the uprights.
18 mins: Barnes concludes that Vakatawa intentionally knocked on, to a barrage of jeers from the crowd. There’s no penalty try, but Vakatawa will spend 10 minutes in the sin-bin.
17 mins: Wales almost find a gap down the right, but Biggar is held up by Vakatawa. Biggar complains that the French back knocked the ball on as he tried to offload to George North. I think he has a case, but Wayne Barnes will go to TMO.
“Had the pleasure of meeting Dan once with Gary Naylor” says Ian Copestake. “Was a lovely moment for me and is a fond memory.”
France win another cheap penalty as the Welsh scrum goes down. Lopez tucks the kick between the posts, and this is officially a bad start for Wales now.
13 mins: Jonathan Davies is endeavouring to co-commentate, despite having almost totally lost his voice. I imagine this particular time of year is quite tough on Davies’ vocal chords.
12 mins: From a rock-solid French scrum, Louis Picamoles benefits from a missed tackle and Gael Fickou bursts clear, but Wales hang on and regain possession.
10 mins: A break in play as France captain Guirado gets treatment. Camille Chat is waiting on the touchline, in case the hooker can’t continue.
9 mins: Ross Moriarty collects the ball cleanly and barrels forward before offloading to Justin Tipuric – but the move breaks down, and France will have a scrum deep in their own half.
Simple but highly effective from France, Gourdon riding two missed tackles before Lopez skewers a pass over the Welsh defence. Remi Lamerat is first to it, and scores under the posts. Lopez adds the conversion.
@niallmcveigh loved dan’s mbm & obo’s he will be missed by loads fantastic live blogger
3 mins: Lopez’s kick from 45 metres is hooked toward the right-hand upright, but drops just short.
2 mins: Noa Nakaitaci cuts infield as France start on the front foot. Sam Warburton is offside, and after an advantage, France will kick for goal…
Dan Biggar kicks off, Picamoles wins the ball at the breakdown and Lopez fires his kick into touch.
Time for the anthems, both sung with hair-raising ferocity. It’s a gloomy, overcast day just north of Paris, with a few empty seats but an almighty noise nonetheless. Wayne Barnes will get us under way.
Guy Novés makes one change from the win over Italy, with Sebastién Vahaamahina replacing Julien Le Devedec. Rob Howley sticks with the team that defeated Ireland last time around.
France: Dulin, Nakaitaci, Lamerat, Fickou, Vakatawa, Lopez, Serin; Baille, Guirado (c), Slimani, Vahaamahina, Maestri, Sanconnie, Gourdon, Picamoles.
I’m currently watching the last 20 minutes of Scotland v Italy, where many of you have paid lovely tributes to Dan. He was a great fan of a musical interlude, so here’s one from one of his favourite bands:
Wales go to Paris for a match where the winner stands a good chance of finishing second in this year’s Six Nations. There was a time when this fixture was worth even more; from 2004 to 2013, these two nations took eight of the 10 Championships available. Times may have changed, but today’s game is significant for both sides.
Guy Novès is seeking a first French top-half finish since 2011, and the extra job security that will bring. Wales, meanwhile, have one eye firmly on the world rankings. Victory, and defeat for Ireland later today would see them climb to fourth, increasing their chances of a much kinder World Cup draw than in 2015.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2017/mar/18/france-v-wales-six-nations-live
A Romain N’tamack-inspired France Under-20s recovered from going 13 points down early on to beat Wales Under-20s 40-20 and clinch second spot in the 2017 Under-20s Six Nations.
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Wales could move into top four with victory but final Six Nations match pits them against a rejuvenated, if hesitant, France
Graham Henry once lamented that Welsh rugby was bedevilled by extremes and that if it were a shower, it would be either too hot or too cold. This season has been no different and eight days after going into the match against Ireland knowing defeat in the final two rounds could take them out of the top eight of the rankings in May’s World Cup draw, Wales will move into the top four if they win in Paris and Ireland lose to England.
Wales have been obsessed by the world rankings since the start of the autumn international series. It is understandable given that in 2015 they were put in the same pool as England and Australia after slipping out of the top eight just before the draw, but it has hindered the development of the side with selection sclerotic.
Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/mar/17/wales-france-six-nations-world-rankings
Olivier Lievremont insists he has changed little as France Women’s coach since taking charge in January, preferring to make small strides rather than wholesale changes in their attempt to defend the Women’s Six Nations title.
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France Under-20s coach Thomas Lièvremont urged his side to finish their Championship on a high when they tackle their Welsh counterparts at Stade Sapiac on Friday night.
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