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The French Are A Pleasure To Watch
Posted Feb 10, 2011 by Shaun Edwards
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A world away from the barbarity and ugliness of Ireland v Italy, anyone seeking pure entertainment will have been glad that they checked out the Stade de France on Saturday to watch a great game of Rugby between the defending champions and the fierce Scots. It was a cracker, and if the French continue to perform in a similar manner then we’re in for an incredibly entertaining 6 Nations.
Following their obliteration by Australia late last year, many were unsure of how France would come out in their opening game. What would the defeat have done to their morale. As it turns out, they brought all the flair they had and topped it all off with a big bag of poise. As for confidence, forget about it: they turned up looking like the trophy was their birthright.
What was most impressive was that although the score-line is convincing enough anyway, it came against a Scotland side that were actually pretty good throughout the match, scoring three tries themselves. They were by no means a pushover, and this makes the difference between the two scores even more impressive.
After nine minutes, the French had swiftly moved to a 10-0 lead following Maxime Medard’s try that was converted by Mogran Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc scoring a drop-goal. However, despite the early dominance, Scotland fought their way back to 10-7 following Alastair Kellock’s low drive through a huge pile of bodies to the line, and Dan Park’s subsequent conversion. Midway through the second quarter, Domingo made his way into the scrum just to the right of the posts, lining up against Euan Murray. The Frenchman showed such dominance that Murray had to fall three times and concede a penalty. In the end the French were awarded a penalty try. For the remainder of the game, the Scots battled well but were unable to really penetrate the backline.
This will be the main concern for all the teams that have yet to face the French: despite this impressive victory, they do seem to be playing somewhat within their limits. Still, they continued to push all the buttons with worryingly strong scrummage and hard as nails line outs. Rougierie was excellent in the centre.
Whether France are really ready to play at their best again after the Autumn’s embarrassments will continue to be up for debate. However, those neutrals out there will be hoping that this signals the return of the flair they bring to the international game. Oo la la indeed.