How French Can You Get?

As a fly-half, picking a scrum-half to fill my shirt in an English league game would seem bonkers.

Over here, we see the two positions as very separate with unique skills. To mix and match the two positions in England is a no-no.

In France, it’s a different kettle of fish.

I have spent some time over there and there are a few players in their Top 14 who could play both positions.

I used to play with scrum-half Julien Dupuy at Leicester – he is now at Stade Francais – and he had the requisite skills to play both positions. He has good hands, obviously a good pass, doesn’t shirk a tackle and is a tried and tested goal-kicker.

Against that backdrop, although it may be hard for us to understand, France’s selection of a scrum-half in Morgan Parra to play fly-half against England this weekend, might not be so weird.

Parra is an absolutely quality player and although, he clearly has not played much in the No.10 shirt, he could still do well.

It’s a fascinating contest. The French have been truly dreadful. But now we are down to one-off games of rugby and, against and England side that have knocked them out in the last two World Cups, there will not be a man in that French XV who will not be relishing the chance to set the record straight.

Whatever has happened before in the tournament will mean nothing come Saturday morning.

There have been rumours of infighting and arguments with their coach Marc Lievremont throughout the tournament. How French can you get?

In England, as a player in that situation, you would hope that a crisis meeting would be called and you would all sit down as players and coaches and iron out your differences.

In France, I am not sure the same thing happens and, from what I have heard, the players in French teams have a lot more influence on the way things are run than over here.

Whatever has been going on behind the scenes, I am certain that the French side is littered with quality and they should not be written off.

The form book is a wasted resource going into this game. It’s anyone’s and too close to call.


Read more from Sam Vesty.

Read more about England v France in the RWC 2011 Quarter Final

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