6 Nations Musings

3 02 2010

With the French team announced yesterday to face Scotland at Murrayfield, the rehabilitation of Mathieu Bastereaud appears to be complete. Bastereaud was the player who, rather than face the wrath of the French management during their tour to New Zealand for returning home drunk and injuring himself by falling over in his hotel room, concocted a lengthy story about being assaulted from behind by 4 0r 5 men on his way home. Sadly the hotel footage shown of him returning uninjured at 5:17am rather gave the matter away, although not before the kiwi police had got involved.

By returning to the French team comparatively soon after the events transpired the whole incident is being treated as it should. Bastereaud’s attempt to blame injuries sustained tripping over a table on a handful of mystery attackers, is a typically harebrained scheme cooked up whilst under the influence. Many people will have experiences where, in the morning when sober, they think “Thank God I didn’t go through with that idea. What was I thinking? That would never have worked!” Unfortunately for Bastereaud he went through it, which in a strange kind of way shows how respected/feared Marc Lievremont might be. In our opinion returning him to the team is right. He is after all only 22 and many young people have done far worse.

He is an interesting case too when considering the evolution of rugby. Bastereaud is, to put it kindly, stocky being as wide as he is tall. Modern centres these days are often little more than battering rams and he fits perfectly into this category. Currently, it is said, he doesn’t have the handling ability of an international centre but his strength and pace make up for this. Or so Lievremont thinks. In days gone by a junior coach would have taken one look at him and sent him to the forwards to learn his trade at prop.

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The French team to play Scotland this weekend should be far too strong despite the Scots heroic Autumn showing. Paterson is back winning his 99th cap and no doubt to knock over another 3 or 4 penalties. His consistency is unrivalled and in an age of metronomic kickers he truly stands out.

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Jonny Sexton’s injury gives Ronan O’Gara a chance to reclaim the 10 jersey for Ireland this weekend. We feel that ROG’s days as first choice stand off have almost certainly already passed unless a huge flaw appears in Sexton’s game. He will undoubtedly go through to the next world cup but more than likely as reserve fly half at best. With the talented but erratic Humphrey’s also waiting in the wings, ROG need’s a good game on Saturday to remind Ireland of his talents and, in his view,  his rightful place as first choice 10.

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