I’m a big fan of the fifteen man game, and so you can imagine my excitement when the Rugby World Cup kicked off in France a few weeks ago.
However, it’s all been a bit of a wet balloon. The French TV coverage has been scant to say the least. Naturally, in their ‘chauvinism’, TF1 has opted to show all of the prime time games that have mattered to the French national team. However coverage of any other games has been hard to find on terrestrial TV.
I was appalled to switch on the other night to discover that the round-ball league cup clash between Strasbourg and Amiens was being televised live from Stade de la Meinau. A fixture that pulled barely enough spectators to fill one corner of the stadium. Yet England vs Tonga was all but ignored.
But such is the nature of the French when it comes to their sport, it is about French participants and ultimately – the result, the taking part is neither here nor there.
During the six nations I stood in a packed Murphy’s House for the Ireland-France match. Squished in with part-time French rugby fans who were determined to watch the game to it’s conclusion, then leave at the utmost possible speed. And some even managed this without even buying or drinking a beer throughout the entire two hour period.
For us Brits & Irish, it has always been about the event, never the result. If you’re a fan of rugby – you’re a fan of the game, and not just when the home team plays. Alas this is something the French, particularly their broadcasters, have yet to learn.