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Rivals fans wary of French


Eight years after what happened at RWC 2011, English and Welsh fans are wary of yet another France team in disarray

According to various reports, the France rugby team are suffering an internal crisis with a divide between the players and the coaches. This seems to be one the most reliable features of any Rugby World Cup and while this would usually signal pandemonium for any other team, rival fans feel this may work in France’s favour. 

There are reports that team captain Guilhem Guirado has fallen out with the coaching staff and has subsequently been dropped as captain. He has lost faith in the coaches, Jacques Brunel and Fabien Galthie, and now has been replaced by Camille Chat, who started against the USA and Tonga and is set to start against England this Saturday. The players have sided with Guirado, creating a rift in the squad. 

While this would be bad enough for any team, Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has also spoken out in the past few days, urging the players to revolt against the management and take control themselves. Fans on social media have been quick to point out that it was only a matter of time before this happened to the France squad. Having said that, they are also aware of how dangerous the team can be in these situations. 

After losses to the All Blacks and Tonga in the pool stages of the 2011 RWC, the France squad led a similar mutiny against Marc Lievremont and went on to reach the final, losing to the All Blacks by a solitary point. While this team in 2019 have not lost a game so far this RWC, they are underperforming. Barring a barnstorming opening 40 minutes against Argentina, they have looked flat and rudderless. They are arguably worse than the team in 2011, despite having as much if not more talent. 

This RWC is just a microcosm of the past two years under Brunel, as France have stagnated and struggled to progress. Compared to Lievremont’s four years in charge, where he won a Grand Slam in 2010, it is undoubtedly worse.

(Continue reading below…)

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Therefore, a rebellion this year could liberate the team and prompt a change in fortunes comparable to 2011, something that fans all over the world are wary of. English and Welsh fans are particularly cautious, with Eddie Jones’ side set to face France this Saturday in their final game of the pool stages and Warren Gatland’s side likely to meet them in the quarter-finals. 

Both England and Wales fell to France in their uprising in 2011, losing in the quarter-final and semi-final respectively, and they will be all too aware of the threat that a similarly unleashed France now pose. This is what has been said: 

While it would usually be absurd to suggest that chaos to this extent could favour a team, it seems to be part of the French DNA and only lends itself to their fabled Gallic flair. 

In truth, this may be the type of thing that the France team need, as they simply have not been a force on the world stage over the past four years. 

Meanwhile, English, Welsh and fans from every other country will hope that their teams have learnt lessons from the past when it comes to underestimating a French team in disarray. 

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Eight years after what happened at RWC 2011, English and Welsh fans are wary of yet another France team in disarray
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