Style and romanticism seem to get nowhere in the modern game. Counter-attacking from deep seems to be the only way to play our natural game, but it is a dangerous approach against this England side, who follow their tracks, ruck after ruck, kick after kick, year after year.
The key to the battle, said the French coach, Pierre Berbizier, during his pre-match team talk, is the first tackle. Unfortunately, he forgot to mention the second one. Clarke, as well as Rodber, were very happy to run straight into the heart of the defence from second- and third-phase possession. Deylaud and company had no answer to these devastating surges.
England rules the game in Europe, and that's that. This is not music to French ears, but as long as England's strong chariot swings low, there is no reason why they should change their ways. Once again, France scored a beauty of a try, a jewelforged fromnowhere that revived memories of Saint-Andre in 1991. Then, as now, it was not enough.
Even though we walked for 10 minutes on the sunny side of the beach yesterday, the waves of these English forwards finally engulfed us. Rugby is still primarily a game ruled by the pack, and we had no answer to the might of les rosbifs.Reuse content