Would a French wooden spoon really bring smiles at the FFR? Could Wales save French rugby by hammering les Bleus this weekend?

France Int Replica Ball

Our resident BTL Parisian reports:

The very real prospect of France losing to Wales next Saturday may not be seen as a bad thing in many circles in Paris. While the fans will once again bemoan the inconsistency of their fickle XV, others will see it as an opportunity not to be missed.

If France loses to Wales then it is quite possible that, with two very tough trips away to Dublin and London, the French could finish last for the first time since 1999, or worse, if a rejuvenated Scotland win in Paris, dine with their first wooden spoon since 1957.

Now why would this be welcome in Paris? Because a new deal is going to be signed in June between the FFR and the clubs (LNR).

lnr-logoLet me rewind a bit. As with every other coach before him, Philippe St André only gathered his squad together just prior to the 6 Nations. The players represent their Top-14 clubs right up until the tournament and the Top-14 continues throughout the tournament.

Not only is the preparation time abridged, but, as often happens, PSA lost a couple of players – Clerc and Dulin – to injury. “On a l’impression que quand on prépare les compétitions, les autres font un 100 m et nous un 110 m haies“, said PSA. While the others prepare for a 100m sprint, we prepare for the 110m hurdles. Nothing new there, right? It’s been like that since – well, since the 5 Nations began, essentially. So why moan now?

Because other nations have moved on. France is the last country which combines a thriving club competition and the absence of a deal between the clubs, the players and the Federation.

What does the LNR want? As they pay the players, they want more Heineken Cup and more money. Some of them would not mind a Top-16 (at the expense of international games) and it would be very popular. Thank dog they‘re split between the newcomers (the rich guys behind Toulon, Racing, Montpellier and Stade Français who basically look at the Champions League as their model) and the more traditional ones (Toulouse, Clermont, Biarritz, USAP, etc).

What does the FFR want? Control of the best players for the national squad and control of the calendar. Problem is, the FFR is poor. In 1998, the FFR had to accept a bad deal with the Stade de France. They don’t even make half of what the RFU makes with Twickenham or the WRFU with the Millenium.

Enter a French rugby legend.

ART-Blanco2Serge Blanco is as shrewd in a suit as he was on the field. When the Ireland game had to be postponed due to *cough* frost, Blanco seized the opportunity to launch the idea of a new stadium. If it is not built – and I think it will be – at least its very notion will help to extract a better deal from the Stade de France during the contract negotiations – currently underway – to extend tenancy till 2017.

Blanco is an Operator. He skipped the coaching stage and went directly for the top job. He was the boss at Biarritz, he’s been the boss with the French Baa-Baas (and got them an international window), he became the boss at the LNR when the game turned pro, and now he’s the VP of the FFR. And he will be the next president. Not only did he jump camps, he left one of his fans – Paul Goze of USAP – running the LNR.

And, funnily enough, Goze and Blanco will be responsible for cutting the deal between the LNR and the FFR in June.

One cannot help but think a French humiliation in the 6N would go a long way to help the cause of the FFR in that negotiation.

Whether the players end up centrally contracted is another story.

Emailed from Paris by flair99 with one eye on his Veal Escalopes à la Normande on the stove. Recipe available on application

About these ads
This entry was posted in Six Nations 2013 and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

592 Responses to Would a French wooden spoon really bring smiles at the FFR? Could Wales save French rugby by hammering les Bleus this weekend?

  1. Chekhovian says:

    With all these blog improvement discussions going on, I’d just like to say a massive thanks to the Unholy Trinity of Dermott, Sag and Cat. You guys are doing a great job, I hope the rest of us aren’t making it too onerous for you.

  2. Just discovered cold tandoori Chicken legs that, apparently, are meant to be for our food because we’re stuck here until 9.

    Very, very unhappy.

    Had bag of crisps and banana instead.

    May go to pub at 6.

  3. Shibui says:

    Yes, I’d like to echo Chekh’s sentiments. Thanks ever so much for providing an outlet for my circumlocutory blather.

  4. MichaelVaughanMyLord says:

    I have a massive dose of Foilage Fursday FEAR.

  5. You sure they’ve just not updated it yet, Sag.

  6. flaviafamkesandwich says:

    @Rossb,

    I used my real name on the Fantasy League too

    if only your surname was Harty

  7. Archie says:

    @ chek,

    Multiple recommends!

  8. rugbywreckage says:

    Matt Kvesic fnas, what do make of his move to Gloucester? Good for him and them?

    Yes.

    Not so good for Wuss though.

  9. Have no fear. Am totally sanguine.

    Scotland by 6, France by a bucketload, Ireland by a score.

    This has inevitable beating written all over it.

  10. For heaven’s sake:

    There was nothing as skillful as Zebo’s flick at the Olympics…

    Telling you, the Irish Lunatic Fringe are growing.

  11. rachel685 says:

    Ireland by a score.

    Under-catting?

  12. HairBearHero says:

    They evidently didn’t watch any of the handball, volleyball, gymnastics.

    That’s only for a value of “skillful” that = eye-catching/fancy. I’d imagine that hurdling or pole vault or triple jumping takes a fair bit of skill.

  13. firstdifference says:

    @ Codfish

    A super rugby super bru sounds fun to me.

    @ the Triumvirate

    I plan on uploading the first part of my Quade’s super predictions piece sometime late this evening US time, it is bad as promised. Sorry it’s not getting done sooner, something came up today that needs my attention. The second half should be ready Monday or Tuesday.

  14. dermott says:

    @ coddfish

    I’d be up for a S15 SuperBru too. Set one up! And watch me come last by tipping the stupid Tahs every week.

  15. Ireland by a score.

    Under-catting?

    Nope, I genuinely think this is an incredibly inexperienced England side. BoD and Darse probably have more caps than the England starting XV.

    As such, I think that this lack of experience could cost them.

  16. MichaelVaughanMyLord says:

    I refuse to write off another Triple Crown and Grand Slam. FFS we haven’t won either for 10 years. This would be a massive win. If we lose then we won’t know if England are the real deal for another 12 months. The Irish have already had their golden years, now Deccie is leading them into steady decline. Therefore they have nothing and we have everything to lose.

    Foilage Fursday FEAR.

  17. @HBH-

    Never mind stuff like Archery. Or Diving.

    ‘sbloody silly thing to say

  18. dermott says:

    @ fd

    No problems, my son. Looking forward to it.

    When does Quade *cough* fight?

  19. bedfordbluesfan says:

    Re Zebo,

    Think it was on the Graun but someone asked if Zebo, having kicked the ball, was then technically offside when he caught? Didn’t go down well with some of the other posters :D

  20. rossb says:

    So Superbru picks. I think England might just pinch it against Ireland (I don’t but I’ve decided to try to be optimistic) Also somewhat reluctantly going for a Scotland win against Italy. Fairly confident that France will beat Wales. If nothing else there is the Howley factor.

  21. bedfordbluesfan says:

    caught the ball that is.

  22. karl1976 says:

    I’d like to echo the previous comments and give our three wonderful hosts a big dollop of thanks for what they’ve created here. And to everyone for contributing, both ATL and BTL – each of our contributions makes for a wonderful virtual perpetual pub chat.*

    *i realise this is getting close to ‘cheking’ the blog.

  23. Wales and France could both wooden spoon this year.

    And Howley would still be part of the Lions coaching team.

    *cries*

  24. rossb says:

    How much damage can Howley do to the other nations backs in one tour?

  25. killerline says:

    I got the FEAR too. Traditionally Ireland can be shite all season but they can always get interested in playing England at Dublin. We need to break it’s hold over us some time.

  26. How much damage can Howley do to the other nations backs in one tour?

    Do we really want to find out?

    Not just that, it’s what he could do to the Lions backs that’s upsetting.

  27. HairBearHero says:

    @Ross

    Have you seen our attack these last 6 months? Fear him.

  28. MichaelVaughanMyLord says:

    The 90s were great weren’t they. Better music, better economy, better weather I reckon, and playing Ireland in Dublin was a doddle.

  29. killerline says:

    *it’s hold

  30. We need to break it’s hold over us some time.

    If this England side stays together, I fancy that date to be 2015.

    Which will be another good omen for the World Cup.

  31. rossb says:

    Do we really want to find out?

    Not particularly.

  32. dermott says:

    Canale in at 12 for the injured Sgarbi is the only change to the Italian team to meet Scotland. Sgarbi the better defender, Canale – relatively speaking – more skilled.

  33. killerline says:

    Ah my phone’s Turkeying up my grammar.

  34. The 90s were great weren’t they. Better music, better economy, better weather I reckon, and playing Ireland in Dublin was a doddle.

    Yes. This.

    And Cardiff, Murrayfield etc as well.

    We’d balls up the odd one, but I’d always expect to win.

  35. killerline says:

    Three difficult games to call this weekend. Bet I get them all wrong

  36. dermott says:

    I’m starting to miss some posts and be taken back a page. And we have the night shift to come. I’ll put up a new blog to take us through to the latest Hask epistle tomorrow.

  37. I’m feeling totally confident on Scotland beating Italy and France beating Wales.

    The latter based on that I’m expecting a backlash from the French after that effort last week.

    Although PSA seems to be addicted to the crazy pills. Fofana on the wing, one fat bastereud in the centers and he’s still persisting with Michalak.

  38. MichaelVaughanMyLord says:

    Do you remember sticking 50 points on the Celts and thinking nothing of it.

    I thought 50 was there for the taking on Saturday actually. Bloody DCB and his overlap-itis.

  39. Wait- dermott, put up the HASK one. It’s only short.

  40. tcod says:

    Ireland by a score

    No way will we win by 20.

  41. Do you remember sticking 50 points on the Celts and thinking nothing of it.

    I thought 50 was there for the taking on Saturday actually. Bloody DCB and his overlap-itis.

    *sigh*

    Am feeling all nostalgic.

  42. dermott says:

    @ Cat

    The one I have is purely a filler. Let Hask appear in all his glory in the morning.

  43. Ah, OK.

    I had a tinker with it, because it’ll be before the squad announcement. I also think the date may need changing on it. Can’t remember if I said it was today or tomorrow.

    I’ll do it when I get home.

  44. dermott says:

    @ Cat

    The filler will last overnight and until the England squad is announced. Rest easy till the team announcement.

  45. I’d better take it off the timer, then.

  46. dermott says:

    @ Cat

    Good idea.

    I shouldn’t have posted this here. Pfffft.

  47. Fixed the bits that needed fixing.

    Taken it off the timer as well.

  48. tcod says:

    <blockquote)Do you remember sticking 50 points on the Celts and thinking nothing of it.
    Do you remember blowing 3 (or 4?) grand slams in a row to 3 different nations?
    I’m feeling all nostalgic too.

  49. tcod says:

    Sorry. HTML fail.

  50. flankerguardian says:

    NO and No

    Les Blues will peel and slice the leeks and cook them in wine with chicken

Comments are closed.