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French Rugby outlook post AI's 
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Post French Rugby outlook post AI's
After the horrors of the AI … maybe it’s time to try and think positive and review the circumstance:

The AI’s were a disgrace!
Instead of making best of what was available,.. unnecessarily compromised team selections and 13(?) new caps were introduced without any semblance of shape or sensible intent,... period!

The Coaches heads await the guillotine… and we’ll pend that. My fear is that they’ll settle perhaps for some comfortable home alternative whilst one hopes for a radical change and an introduction of foreign blood and radical revision. Understandably, morale is also rock bottom and the Coaching necessity has multiple facets to address.

Meanwhile let’s sensibly look at the AI circumstance :

The absentees were extensive, that’s not an overall excuse ‘cos the remainder were poorly managed! Comments during matches apply. Reasonable performance in 2nd game v Abs but overall ...A bloody shambles.

Keeping the record straight the Japan team were admirable and on that form would give many a good game and should've won well with a kicker!

Altogether there were nearly 20 prime Elite squd names absent and others drafted in unavailable thereafter. That, of course, pends yet another Q! ;)
Some salvation from some new caps that proved 'finds' …cue back rows Macalou and Cancoriet and winger Lacroix.

Here is a status of prime players normally in Elite squad of 40 absent and their current status with an eye to the 6 Nations :

Dulin FB has admittedly been in/out but he was unavailable due to 5 wks absence with rib problems. See comments on Ramos (later in post)

Fofana centre was a Big absence, one of the extremely few French world class players, long term injury and has just started back in the Clermont ranks..

Goujon, back row, long term injury but started back with Bdx 18 Nov

Ben Arous, loosehead, foot fracture back now.

Ouedraogo, back row, a ‘funny one, had been recalled.. was injured then declared fit but never played in AI’s.

Fickou, centre, elite squad, injured in training for AI’s .. recovered fitness ..never played.

Lamerat, inside centre, probably first choice, leg injury, fit now

Vakatawa, prime wing choice, picked up an injury and red card eliminated him from AI’s. Back in business.

Camara, back row, ankle injury ..wont be available until end of year.

Chouly, back row, hernia problem, came back this weekend.

Lambey, 2nd row got called up genuinely for 1st cap AIs, knee injuries… still weeks to go.

Lopez, 10, a huge miss! ..broken leg prior to AIs … earliest return March 2018 .. will remain a big miss for 6Ns.

Nakaitaci, wing, has been out lon term with knee injury, maybe a return too late for 6Ns in jan 2018.

Baille, young v promising already in Elite squad loosehead prop, serious long term knee injury but should be available by end of year?

Itturia, 2nd row, another v promising but now established young player operated on shoulder injury this June … also had some probs with HIA .. could be available by end of year but unlikely for 6Ns

Ollivon, back row, shoulder injury out for the Season.

Guillamon, tight head prop, called up for his first cap for AIs but thigh injury, operated on 21 Nov .. unlikely early return.

In addition the young, very promising centre, Penaud was in the squad but only picked for the last game. He does need better defence but his talent is considerable and he needs more international game time, his absence was unpopular amongst the public. In addition the likes of Ramos, FB, was ignored (he did play for Franch Baa Baas v Maoris) another omission against public opinion.

Players incl established, newcomers and new caps … injured during AIs include : Chaume(prop), Gabrillagues (2nd row), Goudron (back row), Taueleigne (back row) should all be available soon except Goudron who will be long term absentee.
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The return status mentioned above and it will be a more capable team for the 6Ns.

However, the damage has been done and the squad is pissed off and the Coaches heads will probably roll.

Backs will be much stronger … but 10 a big problem (Lopez a big miss and Bellau youngster and ‘same old’ Trinh-Duc the back ups)

Forwards will have a problem, some salvation in the back row (have been lots of injuries ) compensated by new blood successes Maclou and Cancoriet. Picamoles well out of form though and desn’t seem to want to be there.

Remains gloomy but don’t judge the AI’s on real capability, do realise the inept management of the National squad.

The National squad conditions, release, player fatigue etc have been sensibly addressed and are now on a par, if not better, than other N Hemp countries but it’s very early days.

It’s the pits at the mo and the only way up, although the capability to sink even further in the ratings remains a real possibility.

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:34 pm
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Post Re: French Rugby outlook post AI's
The perverse irony is that the growing global importance of French club rugby has, in part, led to a decline in the global importance of French Test rugby. However, it does seem that all will not be well even if/when issues to do with clubs' quotas of foreign players, player release time in camp etc. are sorted out. Given the pool where they are in Japan 2019, I think there is a serious and real risk that France won't qualify for the KOs for the first time, especially given how Argentina tend to peak for World Cups and did beat France in their own World Cup in 2007 twice. As far as the current French team is concerned, I don't get why they are so singularly useless at finding a decent, long-term fly-half - even Italy have one in Carlo Canna now. The French props like Slimani seem to be a major strength, but I am not so sure there are other positions on the field where France compete that well with other Tier One teams. On verra, as they say.


Mon Dec 04, 2017 9:23 pm
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Post Re: French Rugby outlook post AI's
najbritcol wrote:
The perverse irony is that the growing global importance of French club rugby has, in part, led to a decline in the global importance of French Test rugby. However, it does seem that all will not be well even if/when issues to do with clubs' quotas of foreign players, player release time in camp etc. are sorted out. Given the pool where they are in Japan 2019, I think there is a serious and real risk that France won't qualify for the KOs for the first time, especially given how Argentina tend to peak for World Cups and did beat France in their own World Cup in 2007 twice. As far as the current French team is concerned, I don't get why they are so singularly useless at finding a decent, long-term fly-half - even Italy have one in Carlo Canna now. The French props like Slimani seem to be a major strength, but I am not so sure there are other positions on the field where France compete that well with other Tier One teams. On verra, as they say.


Lopez is a v good 10.

Look at the 10s in Top14

Mop bhave Cruden
Tlse have Holmes
Racing have Carter ... and soon Russell as a replacement
Pau have Slade
La Roc have James or Lamb
Clermont have Lopez but back up is Fernandez who's injured and McAllister is the injury joker (incidentally now injured in his first game)
Castres have an Argie ..can't spell his name
Stade F have Steyn and Plisson
Lyon have an aged Michalak
Toulon actually have 2 french !! Bellau and Trinh Duc

France favours the 9 running the game and there are oodles of 9/10 s and good 9s aplenty

One saving grace young 18 yr old Ntamack is being fast tracked and protected in the Elite squad ...


but it is a general denial of opportunity for young 10s (Bellau snd Ntamack now excepted) !


Another fundamental issue to plan and control futures and the failure of Club/National integration and common goal.

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Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:00 pm
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