French farce shows no sign of ending as word-perfect Irish set to pounce

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French farce shows no sign of ending as word-perfect Irish set to pounce

sport news,Saturday in France is all about 2019 in Japan. Not for Ireland, of course, who will blandly recite regular rejections of the notion that this tournament is anything other than lashings of Dairygold spread thickly between two slices of Brennan's finest.

The French are a race of people used to grander gourmet but they have not enjoyed such indulgent fare from their national rugby side for many years now and the Six Nations seems to be a less enjoyable competition because of their sad decline.

Right now, French rugby is consumed by two competing behemoths - their lucrative league and the controversial success in securing the hosting rights for the 2023 World Cup.French officials were miffed at the Aviva last year when they were apparently shepherded amongst the "normal folk" in the Presidential Suite - and presumably denied access to lashings of foie gras and Moët.

It will be interesting to see the reception the IRFU blazers will receive in the hob-nobbing department for this return fixture.

France remain trapped by their glorious past and seemingly unable to plot any sensible path towards their future.

As an example, Jacques Brunel will assume charge, in a manner of speaking, for this spring campaign following the sacking of Guy Noves, who was given the task of restoring the sepia-tinted past but, pointedly, when his best days were also behind him.

Brunel was also in the coaching box in 2007, the final season of six, when he assisted in the remarkable 43-31 success against Eddie O'Sullivan's Ireland, who somehow conspired to trail 29-3 at half-time before a pyrrhic four-try assault in the second half.

The head coach was Bernard Laporte, French rugby's enfant terrible, who would seem to have enough on his plate as head of the 2023 World Cup operation while also occupying the attention of the gendarmerie after French rugby federation offices were raided last week.

However, it also appears that the choice of the unremarkable Brunel, another whose coaching time has come and gone, has allowed the ubiquitous Laporte to effectively become head coach by proxy.

For sure, as we were taught in school, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose; the more things change, the more they stay the same.

After that match, in the bowels of the stadium we were treated to the remarkable image of Laporte lambasting the French public as "bourgeois sh**s" for their perceived shabby treatment of the team in general, and fitful fly-half Frederic Michalak in particular.

Fast-forward a decade and, when France's win-less November ended with a draw against Japan, the crowd hollered and harrumphed, ripping up ticket stubs and demanding their money back.

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