Six Nations Snapshot: France

It’s around this time of year you hear French club rugby has ruined the development of the national team, and it’s hard not to be perplexed by this group of players. Along with the other stereotypical tag of unpredictability, no truer words have been placed on the shoulders of this squad.


By Morgan Lowrie
29th January
By Morgan Lowrie
29th January

It’s around this time of year you hear French club rugby has ruined the development of the national team, and it’s hard not to be perplexed by this group of players. Along with the other stereotypical tag of unpredictability, no truer words have been placed on the shoulders of this squad.

Story so far…

Defeat to Fiji at home is the first thing that comes to mind in the recent trials and tribulations of Les Blues. Class, audacity and voluptuous power mixes gloriously with the moments of sheer head warping calamity. On the face of it, 2018 was dreadful. Only victories mustered were a poor Italy, battered England and regressing Argentina. A year that saw them fall to defeat to Ireland, Scotland and of course, the Fijians, not forgetting a 3-0 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand, this tournament is as much about rebuilding as it is surviving.

Key player

Four of the French U20 World Cup winning side are included, and most able from that quartet is none other than Stade Toulousains Thomas Ramos. The young fullback has been tremendous in European and TOP14 rugby so far this year, and if France are to improve on a horrendous 2018, it’s hard to imagine Ramos not being at the heart of it.

At the other side of 30, Wesley Fofana has announced his retirement, but not after one more year in Blue. It’s hard to imagine Fofana not having a major say in his final year in international rugby.

Key Fixture

France v Scotland - 14:15 Saturday 23rd February – Paris

Simply put. France have to win this game. Defeat to Scotland last year in Edinburgh felt like a turning point, and France need to treat this not about revenge, but to assure themselves they haven’t been overtaken by their former auld alliance partners.

Talking Points

Other than the yearly ‘French rugby is in crises’ headlines, it’s the return of Morgan Parra and Fofana who are hoped to have the desired impact in the coming weeks. The exciting and amazingly named Demba Bamba is due to earn his first full Six Nations cap, and Saracens hooker Christopher Tolofua is the only non-French based player named amongst one of the youngest squads in the competition.

Predicted Finish: Fourth

What It Means

Another coaching change is possible. Jacques Brunel has had over one year to try and arrest the slide Guy Novès attempted to halt the year prior, and with a world cup coming up, anything less than a respectable tournament could see changes, again. Like Scotland, France will likely target three wins, two at home to Wales and Scotland, and away in Italy. They have more than enough to do that, and victory over Scotland will likely see the Parisians pip fourth spot ahead of the Scots. The tournament could go sour very early, however, as the Welsh come to town in the opening game of the tournament. Lose, and the writing will be on the wall for all to see.

The Rugby Magazine

Filed under: Six Nations, France
Written by: Morgan Lowrie
Follow: @MorganLowrie · @therugbymag

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