HAUTE LOIRE, FRANCE – While the Southern hemisphere is preparing the Tri-Nations, the French team is visiting the country side of France, where they are doing their physical préparation, which looks très difficile.
First they were in Marcoussis (the national Rugby Center) doing gym, gym and gym. Then they were in the middle of the country doing some RAID – cycling, orienteering, log-sawing rafting and then… more gym.
They didn’t even touch a ball until this past Tuesday. The idea behind this is to build a strong team spirit. But the French spirit is there; those big guys spend their off-time fishing, golfing and preparing dinner. So passionate are they about the latter that apparently there are no more frogs around their camp, while the geese are forced to eat 4-5 times a day. Foie Gras and Frogs Legs were allegedly on the planned menu of player/chefs William Servat, Fabien Barcella, Imanol Harinordoquy and Fulgence Ouedraogo, who were in charge of the dinner one night. Unfortunately, they aren’t as good with forecasting weather as they are in the gym because their BBQ got rained out. C’est la vie.
Not all was rosy in camp, however. Marc Lievremont, the National Rugby Coach, got injured at practice. As you may know, Marc he selected a few injured players – Aurelien Rougerie, Fabien Barcella, Thomas Domingo, to name a few – who are still unable to play, let alone practice. Who knows, may be it’s a new technique: make the others teams think that only half of the team is able to play. Psychological warfare aside, they were minus a #8, so during practice Coach Marc decided to fill in. But when the team went on their Beach Rugby Tour to sign autographs, Coach/Eight Man Marc stayed behind to be taken care of by the medical staff. All indications are that it’s nothing serious. Hopefully, he’ll keep his head in coaching and not between two locks during the World Cup.
Finally, news doesn’t travel as fast down here in Haute Loire – the middle of nowhere – as it does everywhere else in the world. As a result, some Team France supporters had posters of Sebastien Chabal well known as BOOOMMM. So for them, I have breaking news: There will be no Seabass (his other alias) at the World Cup – you need to follow someone else. Maybe we’ll get lucky and a player sport the Chabal look at the RWC. Dan Carter? Will Genia? Chris Ashton? Johnathan Wicklow Barberie? The French cock?