Posted by: theswissjob | October 4, 2007

Le damp squib

So I’ve dragged myself out of three days of self imposed rugby mourning and I’m back in the real world. The aftermath to Ireland’s expected departure from the world cup wasn’t pretty and the trip back from Paris was a subdued affair.

Speaking of subdued affairs it seems in Paris the whole world cup has hardly been acknowledged. I arrived in Paris expecting bunting, posters, rugby themed everything but instead was greeted by an indifferent Paris (although we did go to a fancy bakers who were making rugby ball shaped breads!). Initially I thought to myself, the scale and budget of France is amazing that it can host a tournament of this size and function without “blinking an eyelid”!

I then realised that it wasn’t so much the sublime organistaional skills of Le Francais that pulled off this logistical nightmare, it was the fact that not much was planned or was going on in the city. They had a big rugby ball hanging from the Eiffel tower, some banners running down the Champs Elysee and that was about it as far as I could tell. On Saturday we made it to the rugby village located by the Trocadero in the shadow of the Eiffel tower. I had read that this was the hub of activity for the world cup. The blurb promised rugby exhibits, workshops and the like. It looked good on the walk up, artwork representing each country, big posters of the key players (POC and ROG were there looking menacing, I wonder if they’ve been taken down since?) and a good crowd of people milling about.

The village itself actually turned out to be a large marquee which smelt of portaloos and consisted of bars selling Heineken with a small desk for official mechandise in the corner. There were TV screens everywhere showing the Australia v. Canada game. That was it. I may have missed something or arrived at the wrong time but personally I found it very disappointing. I hate being negative about the whole thing because I actually had a great time, I just think they could have put a little more effort into it. I suppose things will pick up closer to the finals and the city will come alive for the final itself.

But for those of us who don’t make it out of the group phase, a little bunting wouldn’t have gone amiss!



  1. I suppose things will pick up closer to the finals and the city will come alive for the final itself.

    I think a lot of that depends on what happens in Cardiff this weekend. If Les Bleus go crashing out of the tournament at the hands of Nouvelle Zélande then le squib will be très mouillé for the rest of the tournament.

    Argentina beating France wasn’t in the IRB’s script. France were supposed to win the group, that’s why the Winner D v. Runner-up C match was to be played in Stade de France. A soft win over Scotland/Italy would have seen them up against South Africa in the semis, followed by the ABs in the final.

    The best laid plans of mice and men and all that…

  2. hopefully paris will pick up if they beat the abs cos i have tickets for the 3rd/4th place play off. doubt it though so paris will be pants!

  3. I also was a little disturbed by lack of rugby craziness which was only really in evidence after the Ireland match.

    I do hope France beat ABs – I really really do and that will be great for the rest of the World Cup and Northern Hemisphere Rugby.

  4. To be honest, I think it as much to with the French psyche as it has to do with France’s progression in the tournament… Let me explain.

    A few moons ago I was in France on holidays for the 1998 World Cup, FIFA that is. During the group stages we were in both Bordeaux and Nantes for matches; in the cities, not the actual stadiums. We wandered around before the games attempting to sample the festive atmosphere, and to be honest we too found it wanting… And in fairness the soccer version is a much larger scale operation!

    To me it seems that French people – although I love ’em and have been many times – are an obstinate shower at times, difficult to rouse. (Except for strikes, of course.) Unlike us Paddys they won’t drop everything at the slightest hint of a session. They want to impressed, entertained. And more importantly, les Bleus generally need to be involved. The French can be more than a little parochial in mindset, none more so than their rugby folk. Just as with the ’98 World Cup, if the French progress then we shall see a carnival of epic proportions… If not, then a damp squib it shall certainly be.

    I truly hope they do beat the ABs. We desperately need Up North representation in the latter stages. However, if they don’t then spare a thought for Mr. Laporte… Think Eddie has been got it rough now? It will be chickenfeed in comparison.

  5. Laporte is off anyway so doubt he cares.

  6. of course he cares! hes been offered, and i believe accepted, a job as sports minister (or something like that) in Sarkozy’s government. dont think he’ll want to be remembered as “bernard laporte of the french government aka quarter final failure”

  7. What a load of cobblers, no atmosphere in Paris. I thought it was smashing, everywhere we went there was World Cup bunting, banners , most of the bars were wall to wall with the rugby world cup logos, fantastic banter around Paris before and after the Ireland France game. Bourdoux was exactly the same only better. I think a huge majority of the French public have embraced this World Cup and they are the perfect host. Viva la France!!!

  8. john you need to get out more.Bordeuax was very sad as a world cup i have said before the town is fantastic ,so were the fans and locals. but the marie and its polictical workings fell very short of coming up with what i would call a festival of rugby. viva la france

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