French organisation

If France’s record-breaking capitulation in the Guinness Six Nations opener seemed shambolic at the time, then it appears even more of a bungle-fest with the revelation that Sebastien Vahaamahina had no idea he was captain in the second half.

The lock, who threw the wild pass that George North intercepted for the late, winning try, explained that, after Guilhem Guirado’s withdrawal in the 58th minute, he was bemused when English referee Wayne Barnes asked which penalty option he preferred.

“I told him to address the captain,” Vahaamahina said. “He replied, ‘you are the captain’. I did not even know I was a captain. The staff did not warn me.”

10 comments on “French organisation

  1. Les Bleus have played like this for at least 50 years. At their best they play superb, flowing rugby and can beat anyone, but as soon as something goes against them, their heads go down and they fall to pieces.

    Whether this tells us something about French character, I cannot say.

  2. At their best they play superb, flowing rugby and can beat anyone, but as soon as something goes against them, their heads go down and they fall to pieces.

    Alas, that hasn’t worked for at least a decade, possibly more. I think the days of those tactics working have ended.

  3. Was Vahaamahina pack leader? That’s assuming that “pack leader” still exists in the game.

    I did have a spell of captaining while playing back row or second row. It’s a bloody sight easier from the former than the latter but I’d think you really want your skipper in the backs, with a chance to see more of the game.

    (Has the professional game become like football, where who is skipper scarcely matters?)

  4. My experience of working with the french is that they have absolutely no respect for what the Brits would call ‘the chain of command’ and will constantly try and go round their boss to the next level up when told “non”. As such they are anarchistic at the level they are supposed to be operating at yet hugely hierarchical at the same time. The guys encouraging the insubordination from what they refer to as their n-2s don’t seem to realise that their own n-1s are by turn going over their heads to their boss, their n+1s. Manage up,kick down and look after yourself. Rarely makes for a good team result…

  5. At their best they combine terrifyingly huge forwards with colossal backs and the odd old school mazy runner and can beat anyone, but as soon as something goes against them, their heads go down and they fall to pieces.

    FTFY

  6. Didn’t the captain used to wear an armband, thus identifying him to the referee and also informing the new captain himself that he is, well, the captain.

  7. Has the professional game become like football, where who is skipper scarcely matters

    Somewhere between Cricket and football, I imagine. The captain is the only one who can talk to the ref, but watch any game these days and realise that’s a joke.

  8. It’s always been the case of which French team will turn up for the game, sublime world beaters or cantankerous no hopers, regardless of the squad.
    Occasionally they manage to make you wonder which team will turn up for which half

  9. Skipper matters in rugby for stuff like kicking sticks or to the corner. As observers of Robshaw’s England in 2015 will testify, it’s easy to get this wrong.

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