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'This is not funny' - France prop Nicolas Mas walks out of press conference

The 33-year-old tighthead prop took exception to being quizzed about the problems of the French scrum.

Mas will be out to show that France's scrum is still a weapon on Saturday.
Mas will be out to show that France's scrum is still a weapon on Saturday.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

FRANCE PROP NICOLAS Mas walked out of a press conference this afternoon after taking exception to the line of questioning.

Journalists quizzed the 33-year-old on what they perceive as France’s weak scrum this season, a notion with which Mas apparently disagrees. Les Bleus encountered some difficulties in the eight-man set-piece at Murrayfield, but the Montpellier tighthead said he didn’t see a major issue.

“The rules have changed,” he told Rugbyrama. “That’s the way it is, and we’re working to find solutions to be better. Actually, it was positive in that sector against Scotland, we undermined them.”

Pushed on the subject, Mas appeared to be somewhat surprised at the common belief that the French scrum had struggled against the Scots.

Dominated like never before? I don’t see how you can say that. We were not sent backwards or marched into the ground. It is true that in Cardiff the Welsh got on top of us a bit, but voilà.

“It was one of our strengths before, now we have to adapt, and that doesn’t happen in one day. We have the ability to perform [in the scrum], we just have to work.”

Mas then became even more defensive regarding his own scrummaging ability: “I’ve been doing the same things for ten to 15 years, and now I’m to change totally overnight?”

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The French journalists continued to press Mas on the issue of the penalties conceded against both the Welsh and Scottish, asking the veteran prop how France could improve ahead of the Ireland clash. Mas replied with growing impatience: “I don’t know, you tell me!”

As the group of journalists laughed at the next question, which alluded to the fact that France were not trying to play badly on purpose, Mas finally decided he had had enough. Standing up from his seat and moving to leave the room, he had one final comment: ”This is not funny!”

The French media appear to being doing a fine job of motivating les Bleus for Saturday’s game. Joe Schmidt won’t thank them.

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