“Le Crunch” or Entente Cordiale at the Stade de France?

Non, Jacques Brunel will not shave his moustache, as he promised to do so in front of the French media, if France had won the 6 Nations, but it could have been possible… (Yes, I know I am an optimist) if France hadn’t  lost their first game against the Irish (daylight robbery by Sexton in the 83rd minute) and Les Bleus, due to their lack of focus and discipline didn’t give the game away to the Scots in the last 20 mins at Murrayfield.
Fortunately, they won against Italy at the velodrome in Marseille which was to be expected.  It was their first victory in their last 9 games. Bastareaud after a “forced rest” was full of energy and was extremely efficient against the Italians. A player that the English should be fearful of and will certainly be targeted.
However, if les Bleus win today, I wonder whether, Jacques Brunel has a secret bet with his team and might shave a quarter of his moustache 😉
Le crunch expression was devised in 1906 but took a new meaning after the legendary brutal encounters between Les Bleus and “les Rosbifs” in the 80s and 90s.  This morning, Will Carling on his Twitter account was reminiscing about how he used to wipe the froth from Brian Moore aka Pitbull’s mouth before heading down the tunnel to face les Bleus. There was an excellent article yesterday on Sky detailing the rugby “war” that happened during this rugby era. Those were the days, when France were at the top of their game, which sadly has been declining in the last few years and been overtaken by England and Ireland.
After their draw against Japan, Guy Noves was replaced by Rugby veteran, Jacques Brunel who took over the reins on 27th December. First task for Brunel was to appoint new coaching staff and review the overall game strategy for les Bleus.
After a near miss in the Stade de France against the Irish, during their first Six Nations game, Les bleus have lots to prove to their French audience when they revisit the crime scene today. After the embarrassing and drunken night out in Edinburgh by 8 French players  a few weeks ago, the popularity ratings for the French Rugby team dropped considerably, so today, Guilhem Guirado and his team will be hungry, very hungry for a victory on French soil.
During the press conference, at the RFU training ground on Thursday, Eddie Jones stated he was cautious of the French team and that they had some big players, such as Bastareaud who weighs 20 stone but is very potent and fast on his feet. Eddie was full of praise for the experience and professionalism of Jacques Brunel too and “Le crunch” is likely to be a “slogathon” rather than a walk in the park.
So today, the English team will be glued to the front of their screens before their warm up session at the Stade de France, and will be hoping for Scotland to win and then will be hard at work to score 4 tries in order to win the 6 Nations.
A crucial match for Les Bleus too, but it will all depend which French team will turn up and how focused and disciplined they will be today. Last year, they lost against England in the last twenty minutes so let’s hope they have worked on their fitness and stamina over the last few weeks.
What’s for sure is that French TV rating for Le Crunch will be the highest for a Rugby game. Only five years left until the Rugby World Cup in France and it’s very important to market the game of the rugby, as Football is still being seen as number one sport. At least, Rugby has a new fan: My father, massive football and cycling afficionado, who is getting more and more into Rugby (I think I may have something to do with it…).
Rugbystiquement,
Veronique

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