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articles > Sport events

Rugby World Cup

France beat Wales 9-8 (or how the moustache beat 14 men !)

By Gerard Connell




France V Wales (AFP)

A titanic clash at Eden Park

Around 60,000 spectators witnessed a bone-jarring, nerve-shredding clash between a miraculously reinvigorated French team and a battling, never-say-die Welsh team. Was it luck, divine intervention (or a French-speaking referee) that saw ‘les bleus’ go through to the final?



Spear tackle of Warburton (AFP)


Can a spear tackle be an accident?

The 18th minute turning point in the match saw Welsh captain ‘taking an early bath’ after a red card for an alleged spear tackle. Accident, reckless over-enthusiasm early in the game or deliberate intent to injure?  Strangely enough , commentators’ answers seemed to be driven by their native tongue rather than objective interpretation of the rules of the game. In any event, with Wales down to 14 men,  the French could have been expected to win the game at a canter. A half-time score of 6-3 (two penalties from Morgan Parra) looked to be setting up a second half to be dominated by France.

Wales / France (AFP)


Drama and missed opportunity

If French domination was expected, the men from Wales were not following the same script (or perhaps more appropriately for the Welsh , not singing from the same hymn sheet). A 51st minute penalty from Parra looked to be the first step towards the French accelerating away smoothly towards an invincible points gap, but in the 59th minute Mike Phillips of Wales went over for a try that set up a pulsating last 20 minutes. With French hearts in mouths, the Welsh missed penalty opportunities, failed to go for a match-winning drop goal during a period of territorial dominance and finally slumped to the ground, inconsolable, when the French defence held firm to the end.


Did the moustache make the difference?

Marc Lièvremont

Still sporting his bizarre facial hair, Marc Lievremont, the much-maligned French leader described the result as a ‘modest victory’ and praised the ‘extraordinary courage’ of the Welsh. Could the man not spare a smile and some more words of encouragement for his own warrior?

As the heartbroken Welsh began to make their way home, surely it was better to be winners than heroes?



Third time lucky?

The awesome All Blacks


So the French reach the final again, repeating the achievements of 1987 and 1999, but a daunting challenge awaits  - the awesome All Blacks on home territory. Which French team will turn up on the day? Will it be the shameful jokers who were humiliated by Tonga or the battling tigers who routed England? Destroying the New Zealand dream of a world title last won 24 years ago is not beyond ‘les bleus’, but they go into the final as underdogs given little hope by  the experts. 

Don’t miss this weekend’s dramatic final!

NOTE : The French Institute in South Kensington invites you to come and see the final on at Ciné Lumière on a large screen.

First come first served.


23/10/2011 - chantaljenkins said :

Rugby great game great teams wonderful human adventure. We could not have better Teams for the final. Thanks all

21/10/2011 - deanejennings said :

Oh so you think this is funny then do you? How the cheating French Team managed to get a plucky Welsh player sent off by making him spear tackle one their own men? These French players will stop at nothing - even risking their own necks - quite literally - to pull a ruse like that one.

Then to actually score more points than the Welsh? Thats just unfair! Its pretty close to cheating in my book.

You guys clearly don't deserve to be in the final...


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