Sunday, March 17, 2013

France get first tournament win with Paris victory over Scotland

France avoided not winning a championship game for the first time since 1969 as they beat Scotland 23-16 thanks to two tries in the second half. Their disappointing campaign sees them ending bottom of the table however, for the first time since 1999.

France needed to win by 16 points to relegate Ireland to the wooden spoon, but a late Tim Visser try sealed their fate as they ended the competition with just one win and a draw.

Pre-tournament favourites for many, France showed glimpses of their potency in the second half as stars Wesley Fofana and Maxime Medard helped them end their seven-match winless streak.

Scotland on the other hand achieved their best championship result since 2006, finishing third on the overall table with many positives to take away from the campaign.

A Freddie Michalak scuffle with Lions hopeful Stuart Hogg soured affairs a little, before the enigmatic flyhalf left the field with a bad shoulder dislocation, to a standing ovation.

"We're last in the Six Nations and we have to accept that and face up to it. The game was like our tournament: complicated," said France coach Philippe Saint-Andre.

"The second half was better and we started to get back into the game and scored two very good tries. But we missed two other good chances.

"This team is young, it has a soul and fights. But it lacks control, collectively and individually, and you need control and patience when you play rugby at the highest level. The objective is to be ready for the 2015 World Cup. I think we will learn enormously from this Six Nations.

View all Six Nations Highlights

Time: 5:05
Credit: rbs6nations

Posted by Rugbydump at 2:34 pm | View Comments (49)

Posted in Six Nations 2013

Viewing 49 comments

Colombes March 17, 2013 7:20 pm

"complicated" yep this word describes well the french tournament

the 1st half was a summary of their 6N: Dominants in the scrum, presents in the mauls, but incredibly clumsy and unefficient to score on their clear occasions... the sign of a team without confidence. The 2nd half was better, les bleus showing some flair and muscles to break the scot defence, but they also missed 2 clear try opportunities. complicated, really.

what's next? St-André has the luck to coach world-class players (Picamoles, Fofana, Medard, Maestri, Parra, Domingo, Fickou...) The RWC is in 2 years and France hasn't win vs italy & ireland, the 2 big teams in their pool. Well, better it happens now than in England... but France is still a Fragile concept:

Fragile institutions: the FFR meet the TOP14 clubs in june to sign new agreements for a larger international calendar and rest players. this poor 6N could may help St-André desideratas.
Fragile fitness: The french internationals play too much than their opponents. for the solution , look above
Fragile halves: Parra, TD, Michalak, Machenaud. St-andré hasn't found the key to organize the game. players like Plisson, Lopez and Lesgourgues should be tested. The 10 is a strange concept in France: sacked when defeats, ignored when wins, the 9 is the star in the french rugby
Fragile coachs: Lot of people blamed St-André, personally, i'm more worried with lagisquet attacking strategies. too much "bish-bash" doesn't work vs modern defences. french backs are made to run the ball. scoring only 6 tries (even if it's curiously better than england, ireland or italy) is unusual for this team

On scotland, i don't really know if the players were motivated by the match as their tournament was already a success. their pack is still quite weak but players like Hogg and Visser clearly have their places in the Lions

ps1: anyone has noticed the block on the scottish try at 01:42?
ps2: like the ovation to celebrate michalak after his injury. to close some mo

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Reality March 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Is their fitness really a problem though? Everyone says that they play too many matches and are too exhausted as a result to play well at international level, but they've won the Six Nations many times in spite of this. Then in the world cup, they weren't exhausted but were terrible, essentially because their coach was just very, very bad. I'd say Saint-André is the problem here, not their fitness. They could have beaten Ireland, England and Wales if SA had just played the right players in the right positions, e.g. Trinh-Duc. Fitness is the last of their problems.

And on the block, it was unbelievable that the referee didn't see it, but after Debaty's push against Ireland I don't think they can really complain too much. Karma, you could say.

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Colombes March 17, 2013 11:50 pm

Fitness problem: Wasn't a problem in precedent years as the Top14 wasn't as ferocious as today. the apparition of "new rich" clubs since 3-4 years (Toulon, Racing, Montpellier) make the competition harder, so the best internationals are over-used. new FFR/Top14 agreements must be discussed in june to solve that problem

The block: les bleus didn't complain. i tend to believe that these unfair actions are hard to notice at full speed

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Gilly_TJ March 17, 2013 7:32 pm

The Scottish try should not have stood in my opinion. I even noticed it in real time but upon further reflection the French player was quite clearly taken out by a runner off the ball and that was the gap in which Matt Scott made the break through. In fairness to the Scottish, you play to the whistle and they finished the break off with a try. But I really don't understand how the ref did not notice this when even spectators did hence the screams.

The French, however have massively under-performed this Six Nations which is extremely disappointing given their run of good form before the championship. Whilst the Scottish have had a relatively good Six Nations I still personally believe that they deserve any rave reviews? Is anyone of the same opinion? The Scots to me, seem reserved and play a conservative style of rugby and are just quite simply afraid of attacking. This frustrates me highly when they sit back for penalties to just be handed to them. Some may argue "a win is a win" but for a Lions touring season, I do not wish to see any of this fear to attack and wait for kicks. As quite frankly there are a number of goal kickers (Halfpenny, Farrell, Sexton) and a Scottish one would not be needed. In fairness, players like Hogg and Kelly Brown have impressed me this Six Nations but not to the extent they have been raved about. In my genuine opinion, no Scottish players would really warrant a start for me over any of the players. Their win over Ireland has done the media no favour and they seem to forget that Scotts only got by due to Laidlaw's boot, which to be quite honest, got them by throughout the whole Six Nations.

I do not understand St Andre though, is he that stubborn to play players out of position to coincide with his philosophy?

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Gallego March 17, 2013 8:17 pm

I agree about that last try, that was a clear penalty if you ask me.

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stroudos March 17, 2013 11:05 pm

I agree. Scotland are much improved, but they're still awful.

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Colombes March 18, 2013 3:29 pm

They aren't awful
Their pack is a desastre, yes
But their backs are creatives. Hogg and Visser should be with the lions

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DrG March 18, 2013 3:25 am

Not quite sure how you can say Laidlaws boot got Scotland through the tournament.... Their first game against England there were 2 very good tries. Against Italy there was a fistful of good tries. Ireland and Wales there were no tries...

I think the Scots and the Italians played some of the most exciting rugby earlier (for the Scots) and throughout (for the Italians) in the tournament. For Scotland, against Ireland iirc the weather was abysmal and neither side looked keen on doing much with the ball. Again against France the weather was rubbish. I'd say the side that played some of the most boring rugby was England or perhaps Wales, bar the last game, but even they both had their exciting moments.

To top it all off this is never normally known as a Champagne rugby competition, in fact most of the games have been won off the boot of a player. Leigh Halfpenny alone probably racked up the most points this 6 Nations, in fact in the 6 nations website a title for the Wales Scotland game is "Halfpenny's boot keeps Wales' title hopes alive".. How many kicks has Farrell got for England. Sexton for Ireland.

I thought Hogg was one of the sparks that Scotland has needed for years. Kelly Brown is good, but I have preferred seeing the likes of Strokosch and Denton roaring around more so..

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Guest March 18, 2013 1:15 pm

There is an argument that the try could have been called back but it would have been harsh. In any case, France should have been down to 14 men for almost the entire 2nd half and the result would likely have been different if this were thce case. If the ref should have seen Sean Lamont's block then he or the touch judge should surely have seen Michelak's disgraceful act of off the ball thuggery.

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TechnoMouse March 17, 2013 9:18 pm

Does anyone know why Medard has only recently come back into the French team? Has he been injured or in bad form? Or just ignored by Saint-André? He always, to me at least, adds excitement and attack to the French back line.

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Colombes March 17, 2013 11:41 pm

He had a serious knee injury and was coming back to competition since 1-2 months

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DrG March 18, 2013 3:26 am

As Colombes said, knee injury, ACL to be precise. Definitely a brilliant player to watch.

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stroudos March 17, 2013 11:04 pm

This clip is the only thing I've seen from this game. On this evidence alone, it looks like The Bastard was quite prominent in getting them over the gain line.

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DrG March 18, 2013 3:28 am

hmmm half and half, saw the game earlier today and he was stopped quite well on a few occasions. But he was definitely as instrumental and as useful as a human wrecking ball can be...

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Alistair Hutton March 17, 2013 11:15 pm

Any chance of a replay of Michalak losing it and assaulting Hogg? Not just the hugging at the end but the flying clothesline from behind. Should have been red.

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DrG March 18, 2013 3:28 am

I completely missed that whole "event"...

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Campbell March 19, 2013 8:36 pm

This seems to be totally overlooked. He needs to be cited in my opinion, it was completely crazy.

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marty March 18, 2013 1:09 am

Bastareaud= big, huge, enormous and frightfull!!!

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Tj March 18, 2013 10:57 am

I was there and while i was watching the last action of scotland i noticed in the stade that the player from france felt didnt saw it clearly that he was taken out by a scot. It was not a fair try after all.. disepointed about the miss tackles from scotland, Tim visser should learn how to defence decently. He had the whole time his eyes on the ball caryer while his inside man marked the ball carryer. Tim had no idea their was a frenchy still on the outside of him, very poor stuff.

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Rob March 18, 2013 11:16 am

I can't believe the Michalak/Hogg incident is being described as a "scuffle". Michalak cowardly clothes lines Hogg around the neck from behind before jumping on him when he hits the deck. He surely faces a lengthy ban and its just a joke that the touch judge didn't bring it to Owens' attention. Clear red card offence. The dislocated shoulder was karma perhaps but France should have been down to 14 men for most of the second half.

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Colombes March 18, 2013 11:34 am

so if i read u well, u're happy to see a player quiting the pitch with a dislocated shoulder, very very interesting...

but as i like facts and truth, i've rewatched your famous and savage "clotheline", and all i can see is Hogg making a lazy run in order to slow french players on a up&under, michalak reacting by tackling him by behind (maybe high, but never red)

thx for your very interesting "contribution", really

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Jonny March 22, 2013 2:18 am

38 and Colombes, you either need to get some new glasses or hold back on the revisionism. If you watch the replay on bbc iplayer, Michalak clothes-lines Hogg from the back and then uppercuts him twice in the ensuing scuffle. Even if he ran a blocking line, no player deserves 3 cheap-shots. I like Freddie as a player, but that was cynical, deliberate and cowardly attack by Michalak which warranted a red card, at the very least.

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38 March 18, 2013 6:46 pm

"cowardly clothes lines Hogg around the neck from behind before jumpin"

Hogg just desserve that. He cheated and was punished for that. Too much unfair game from scots to my point, as for thier beautiful try...

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DrG March 18, 2013 10:03 pm

Because the French are well known for their up and coming Sainthoods...

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Rob March 18, 2013 12:55 pm

Colombes no you didn't read me well. Nor, in my opinion, did you watch or write well. Where do I say I am happy to see him injured? I say that perhaps it was Karma. To hit a player high from behind when he does not have the ball is both cowardly and dangerous. He then goes on the pounce on Hogg when he's on the floor before continuing to get sly digs in when Hogg gets up. You say "maybe high but never red" - I suggest re-watching without your bleu tinted glasses on. If Weir had done the same to Huget would you have the same opinion? - I doubt it. It is a clear red card and if cited he will face a ban. Michelak had an abysmal tournament and is the main reason France got the wooden spoon. His frustration at this explains why he did what he did but does not excuse it.

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Colombes March 18, 2013 1:21 pm

you seem to see things that others don't see as the cameras didn't catch the scuffle...
i guess people (you and me) just see what they want to see.

but the fact that you save hogg, use the word "karma", or "what if a french player...", ask a citation for a "girl" fight and single out michalak as the main reason of les bleus problems just confirm me that rugby fans have changed.....

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flanker2712 March 18, 2013 2:59 pm

Colombes, I think you will be very much in the minority on this point! Although the replays of the actual incident were not close-ups, it was as far as I could see pretty clear that Michalak "clotheslined" Hogg from behind and then jumped on him while he was on the deck. It is then not clear what happened while they were getting up, but the next replay I saw was of the two in a some kind of clinch, and even as a few French players had made their way over to break it up, Michalak was still trying to get some uppercuts in.

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Colombes March 18, 2013 3:21 pm

i'm not here to defend michalak, i'm not even a big fan of his last performances. if a commission considers it was a dangerous clotheline, i would be the first to make my mea culpa
but it won't happen as it was just a scuffle between 2 thin players throwing some jabs.

i'm more annoyed by people who constantly bring some petty comments in order to discredit or yell their anger. and it's becoming an habit to read this kind of trolling on this blog.

i'm not an objectivity disciple, far from that, but it don't like these kind of shabby comments.
got the impression that everyone is a citing commissioner, well send your candidature to irb or erc ;)

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Guest March 18, 2013 5:35 pm

How is it "trolling" to express an opinion that Michalak should have been carded? It was a main talking point in the tv studio after the game.

You say: "it was just a scuffle between 2 thin players throwing some jabs". Yes, there was a scuffle which was not a big deal. But the action that prompted it was more serious: Taking out a player from behing with a straight arm to the neck. Cowardly.

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38 March 18, 2013 6:45 pm

To my point, scots made a lot of obstruction during the party and they never were punished for that. On this action, hogg is one more time doing an obstrcution on Clerc and Michalak just tackle him to punish him, which is jsute fair... T

They fought after that and where two for this. So if u want a red, u would need 2, one for Mich and one for Hogg.

And what to think about that beautiful scots'try?

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sha1966 March 19, 2013 10:42 am

Walsh is a southern referee and if you watch the super rugby , many obstructions has never punished so...

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spanish rugbier March 18, 2013 1:05 pm

wooden spoon is for the team that lost all games, or for last qualified?... i think is the first chance, but rugbydump website says that france has won wooden spoon this year,... i don´t understand...

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Guest March 18, 2013 1:45 pm

Don't know what channel you were watching on but the cameras did catch most of the incident. The BBC pundits analysed it afterwards and all agreed that it was a clear red card offence.

You are a disgrace to condone Michelak's actions. Rugby fans have changed indeed.

Did you watch France this year? Michelak has been very very poor. Why PSA does not start the class Trinh Duc is beyond me.

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Pierrot March 18, 2013 2:05 pm

Trinh-Duc did not play much because it seems the coaches are not really happy with his defense.
The Michalak-Hogg incident: I'm french, but yes, red card, and Michalak will probably be banned for it.
The Scottish try should not be awarded, but the lack of French reaction to it shows something: we need leaders who can give this team a bit more of energy and anger. Missing Papé who is really great doing it. The team is young and talented but we definitely need leaders to take the commands. Another clear case of lack of confidence-leadership: why did not they try to kick drops in the first half?

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Alistair Hutton March 18, 2013 3:31 pm

Colombes, you are talking absolute rubbish. I just rewatched to be sure. Hogg doesn't even block Michalak. Hogg is running in front of a differnt French player when Michalak changes path from going for the ball and jumps him from behind.

Michalak goes at him unprovoked.

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38 March 18, 2013 6:48 pm

"Hogg doesn't even block Michalak"

U're right. Hogg just block clerc and Mich has to do the laundry

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Rugbydump March 18, 2013 3:40 pm

Quick note - This post is now updated to include longer highlights

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martin0922 March 18, 2013 4:17 pm

I didn't watch the game but at 2:29, it looks like Bastareaud punched a player in the ruck? Did he really punched him?

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moddeur March 18, 2013 7:08 pm

I saw that during the match and wondered "what the ---??". It sure looks like a punch anyhow.

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kadova March 20, 2013 1:23 am

It's also a punch to me, nbut i'm not suprised the referee didn;t see it, i have noticed seveal punches in matches that are never noticed.

About Michalak clothesline, i'd like to see it again in a video, if possible.

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Clothesline March 18, 2013 7:11 pm

FM deserved the red card, that sort of thing should not be accepted on a pitch.

Funny the wail, wail about Scottish obstruction, something that the French never do!!

Of course the French think that allegedly swearing at a ref deserves triple the punishment of trying to cripple a fellow professional. No wonder then they see nothing wrong with FM's thuggery.

As for Bastareaud, it clearly looks like a punch. But no doubt the prone Scotsman deserved it.

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Frenchie March 18, 2013 10:01 pm

On Michalak:
simply to my opinion he is not our best option going to the next WC. Trinh Duc should be starting and we should have a young fly half on the bench. There are a few names for this role.
Michalak nonetheless has all the support of St Andre who says we need experience in 10.

In practice Michalak hasn't shown much of experience in this 6 nations. He seems out of form, uninspired (like most of the players) and inconsistent. Besides he's getting old.

St Andre wasted this 6 nations. How can you be a runner up of the RWC, have good result in the Autumn then loose all your rugby. He should be sacked, period.

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Sankeor March 19, 2013 12:53 am

Fofana is such a great scorer ! One does not stop him like that before the try line... His style reminds me of Conrad Smith somehow.

Michalak : maybe a reason for les bleus bad results, but I think he did what had to be done with Hogg, you know, dot the i's and cross the t's about on that obstruction issue.
Don't tell me about karma sh*t and imaginary Debaty's shoulder, tas far as everybody knows the guy reached for the ball and you can't prove the contrary... end of story.

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Wooden spoon March 19, 2013 5:48 pm

Hey, correct me if I'm wrong ... I thought you got the wooden spoon only if you had 6 losses in the tournament. Right ?

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jo March 23, 2013 2:11 am

Yes, but only in the 7N. ;o)

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H_Ian_M March 19, 2013 8:22 pm

@Wooden spoon

Not really. It generally just refers to whichever team comes last. The BBC pundits were saying, though, that in a very Gallic way the French have decided that definition doesn't apply to them, and so they take it to mean as you described.

On another note, has that prick Michalak been cited yet?

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Gael March 21, 2013 11:19 pm

I agree for the block. French team doesn't deserve to reach the fifth place of this tournament but it's weird that anybody report this huge game fault !

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Jonny March 22, 2013 2:20 am

If any of you can view iplayer:

1.34:25 on the iplayer clock, 42:58 on the game clock. Michalak clearly and 100% cleans him out from behind, and Hogg's blocking line wasn't even that bad!!

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Guest March 24, 2013 7:11 pm

Are you being serious! Take off your tricolour coloured glasses. Micha(whack) makes no attempt to 'tackle' Hogg. Unless of course a 'tackle' on your planet constitutes a one armed tackle around the neck and the two uppercut punches. Which of the two touch judges was it that was closest to the assault. Wouldn't be surprised if it was George ( I miss everything, even with the benefit of several TV replays) Clancy.

Speaking of Refs/Touch Judges. When will the IRB finally do something about George Clancy and Nigel Owens? Both individually awful. Collectively diabolical. In Owens case I'm certain he won't ever get pushed aside as he now ticks an 'equality' box.

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