The rugby world just finished this week-end the November tour. During the month, the rugby teams play 3 exhibition games against each other in order to prepare the international competitions of 2017. The French team, which is at the 8th position on the World Rugby ranking, lost 2 of its 3 games. However, the players have shown a great cohesion and many signs of progress during this month of November.
At the beggining of the year, the French Federation of Rugby decided to change the head coach. Guy Novès was chosen to replace Philippe Saint-André after 5 years being in charge of the national team. For his first year at the head of the French team, his results haven’t been the one expected : a 5th place at the Six Nations Championship in March and these two defeats this month. However, the progress made by the team are obvious, and it seems to be just a matter of time before all this work pays off on the field.
Saturday November the 26, the last game of the tour took place at the Stade the France against New-Zealand. We can draw quite the same conclusions. France made a very good beginning but did not manage to conclude during its highlights. They finally lost 19-24. Even if the game’s configuration can leave a bitter taste, the French players can hold their heads high while finishing this tour against the best team in the world.
Bernard Laporte, the new President of the French Rugby Federation
Last Friday, the French Federation also elected a new President, Bernard Laporte. The former international player, who was RC Toulon’s manager since 2011, has been elected with 85% of the votes. From 2007 to 2009 he was the French sport’s minister under Nicolas Sarkozy’s Presidence. During his mandate at the head of the French Rugby Federation, Laporte wants to reconsider the priorities in terms of politics. He clearly said that he would return to the roots of the sport, that is to say promoting amateur rugby in France. For instance, he rejected the idea of building a new Stadium in Paris to give the 85 millions of euros allocated to this project to the small clubs that didn’t have much grants from the Federation until now. He also made the promise to meet an amateur club every week and even to put on the tracksuit to coach the teams if necessary “because it is a personal pleasure, a passion” he said. He would then be the first FFR’s President ever to take in charge a training session.
The 2017 Six Nations Championship will begin on February 4th. In the meantime, the players went back in their respective clubs before meeting up again at the end of January for the preparation of the tournament.
The French Rugby seems to be at a turning point of its history. We all hope that it lead us to a bright future for the sport.
To be continued…
Alexander Maclennan & Pierre Renaudie