February 01, 2020
Les Blues’ new coach expects his young players to stand their ground in ‘ferocious battle’ in Six Nations Test against EnglandTo the English way of thinking, the greatest day in the history of French rugby, the very pinnacle of it all, was Saturday 2 April, 1927, when they finally beat England for the first time. “The highest ambitions of France as a rugby nation were consummated at the Stade de Colombes today‚” reported the Guardian afterwards, “when the 17th match between that country and England resulted in a win for France by a try to nothing.” It had taken them 21 years, “so France celebrated her coming of age most auspiciously”. For the English, Paris in the springtime would never seem quite so charming again.
France’s Fabien Galthié uses Boks as blueprint to beat England
England have played there another 43 times since, and won 15 of them. Of all the Six Nations cities, their record is worse there than anywhere else. But back in 1927, the result was so shocking that the papers were asking all week long what went wrong – over-confidence maybe, exhaustion perhaps, and last of all, the indigestible truth: “France deserved their success, they were the better team at every point.” Their forwards dominated the scrum and sent England’s flanker Jerry Hanley off the pitch to get an injury stitched. Their backs played with a “dash and enthusiasm” that made England look “mechanical” in comparison.
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