June International Tours

France tried to cancel tour



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French team manager Jo Maso has revealed that his Union actually tried to cancel their tour of New Zealand.

What once was the great spectacles of Rugby Union, a French tour of New Zealand, has now been reduced to a sideshow in the midst of an unending season of club contests and tournaments.

The French are at the end of a long domestic season, and many of their top players are not available for the tour, as they are still committed to their club sides with five teams still involved in the title race.

Added to this is the need for rest and renewal and then training ahead of the World Cup in September.

As a result, the French are reluctant to field a full-strength side, and, to a large extent, are simply unable to.

With a World Cup around the corner, the significance of the two-Test series pales.

“We tried to postpone or cancel the tour with financial compensation, but in vain,” team manager Jo Maso said to the press as the touring party was revealed on Tuesday.

“I think our English and Irish are friends are in the same situation and will send second-string teams to South Africa and Argentina.”

The French squad is diverse.

To fill the vacuum they have turned to old campaigners such as flank Oliver Magne and prop Christian Califano as well as 19-year-old centre Mathieu Bastareaud who plays third division rugby in France.

The French take on the All Blacks in Auckland on June 2 and in Wellington a week later.

The de-valuing of Test rugby signifies the current problem with the lack of an international season, as the money generated by broadcasting rights carries on its dictation of the global game.


365 Digital

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