bleu is the colour

Saint-André unleashes his inner Mourinho as France find no comfort in Croydon

Each Tuesday, we go on Bleuwatch to try and figure out which French team is going to show up on 11 October.

FRANCE HEAD COACH Philippe Saint-Andre must have had an eye on the Premier League’s Diego Costa debacle after beating Italy on Friday.

Either that, or his mind was just in perfect harmony with embattled Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho when he took umbrage with a TV reporter questioning the absence of beauty from France’s game.

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool D - France v Italy - Twickenham Stadium PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Mourinho and Saint-Andre both have critics who say their Blues are too physical. Mourinho chose to enunciate ‘Bad-Min-Ton,’ as his retort and PSA volleyed back with a racquet too:

“Je viens du tennis,” he began, according to RugbyRama, “In tennis, table tennis, there is no fight. But rugby is a sport of confrontation, men.”

The journalist argued it can also be a sport containing excitement, speed and skill. Saint-Andre just batted back with one of those sarcastic you-haven’t-played-the-game responses: “It shows that you played rugby, you, to say that.”

Aside from the most imporant thing: a relatively straightforward win over Italy at the very stage when the Azzurri tend to be most competitive, it hasn’t been a great opening week at the World Cup for Les Bleus.

First there was the run-in with a traffic warden while the team were out for an evening meal. Unlike Mourinho, parking the team bus is not so easy for France as it was “parked illegally in a bus stop on a busy main road,” Croydon council told the BBC.

Yet that misfortune was insignificant compared to the immobilisation of star winger Yoann Huget.

There was some joy on winning but also much distress because Yoann is appreciated, loved the group.”

The Toulouse man has been ruled out of the World Cup with a serious knee injury sustained as he tried to step off his right leg to power around an Luke McLean. Saint-Andre was initially expected to call upon Huget’s team-mate Maxime Medard as a tried and tested option. Instead, the former Sale coach explained that he wanted a ”chasseur d’essais” — a try hunter, a poacher, an out and out winger — and he  went for Castres’ uncapped 6′ 2″, 26-year-old Remy Grosso.

Britain Rugby WCup France Italy The pain hits Huget's face after he leaps off his right leg. Christophe Ena Christophe Ena

The message the French want to send out this week is that places remain up for grabs for the tougher challenges ahead, despite PSA appearing to show his hand against Italy (barring Wesley Fofana and now Huget). Grosso will have to wait until a clash with Canada before winning his first French cap as Perpignan’s Sofiane Guitone is the man in possession of the jersey after being named to face Romania tomorrow. 

Like Ireland, French rugby followers were left to rethink how easy it may be to progress through a quarter-final if they manage to top Pool D. Seeing Argentina tear strips off New Zealand before finally succumbing to the brilliance of Aaron Smith and Sonny Bill Williams was a reality check for more than just Steve Hansen’s men.

The language used to look forward in Pool D is careful. After four years without a win over Les Verts, France has a healthy respect for Irish rugby. When they ponder the double edged sword of a quarter-final against the Pumas or All Blacks, it is usually uttered with a ‘even if we beat Ireland’ somewhere in the mix.

Avant Garde…

Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2015 - Pool D - France v Italy - Twickenham Stadium PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Freddy Michalak was wearing a bit of black strapping on his left knee against Italy. So on one still photo where he is running, it looks a little like his weaker limb has been amputated. It hasn’t, but that didn’t stop #MichalakMeme.

Pretty soon, they forgot about the leg and just made poor Fred do all sorts of things with those skilled hands.

MacGinty, Nadolo and even a bit of SBW in our 9 plays of the Rugby World Cup week

World Cup organisers defend TMO system amid growing frustration from fans

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