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Blame game begins after Six Nations Paris debacle

Date

Pirate Irwin

France's rugby union federation president Pierre Camou apologised to French supporters but made no mention of Ireland's fans.

France's rugby union federation president Pierre Camou apologised to French supporters but made no mention of Ireland's fans. Photo: AFP

PARIS: The last minute abandonment of the Six Nations clash between France and Ireland had everyone searching for a scapegoat but whoever is selected for that role will not matter to the biggest losers - the supporters.

Not much could be gleaned from the 'press conference' held after the farcical abandonment where the fans were the last people to know whereas the television viewers had been informed 10 minutes before kick-off.

A frazzled looking Six Nations official Christine Connolly and French Rugby Federation president Pierre Camou appeared before the media but refused to take any questions while referee Dave Pearson having been announced that he would be present was then absent.

While Connolly simply stated the bland facts that Pearson had cleared the pitch as playable 90 minutes before kick-off and then the reverse minutes before it, a visibly angry and emotional Camou took the line the best defence was offence.

"We were not the deciders," said Camou, who then apologised solely to those he felt responsible for the French supporters who had travelled long distances but not a mention of the Irish supporters.

The International Rugby Board backed Pearson. In a statenent the IRB said: "Player welfare and safety is the primary concern for the IRB and its match officials."

To many the scenario had been clear all week that with the temperatures as they were it was asking for trouble to have the match scheduled at such a late time especially on a pitch which has no undersoil heating.

While television was held to blame for this scheduling, according to L'Equipe on Sunday French television did suggest to the organisers they could move it forward to 1500GMT but were rebuffed.

Camou's evasiveness cut little ice with former Ireland fly-half Tony Ward.

"When the captain's run couldn't happen yesterday and the kickers couldn't get onto the pitch to practice, there is a problem. This is a big wake-up call for the Six Nations," he said.

For another former Irish international turned pundit Neil Francis the blame lay fairly and squarely with the French.

"As usual the French, in their minimalist and laissez-faire way, did as little as possible to make certain that the match took place," he said in his Sunday Independent column.

The sorry sight of two groundsmen desperately wielding a heating implement in a corner of the pitch while the military band stood to attention even after television viewers had been informed of the abandonment brought out some dark humour from an Irish fan.

"It brought back memories of The Titanic and the band still playing while the ship went down," he commented.

However, such humour was a rarity to be found amongst the thousands of Irish supporters who had saved up at a time of severe financial hardship to make the trip over to Paris.

Kevin Loughney, owner of the Irish pub Kitty O'Shea's in Paris, described the decision to call the match off as "pretty devastating for the fans who had travelled".

One of the fans Dublin-based salesman Mark Kelly summed up to AFP the frustration of the fans.

"You wouldn't get this in schoolboy rugby!" Kelly told AFP. "Me and my wife have been planning this for a year, St Valentine's weekend and all that.

"These French friends came over last year to Dublin and we said we'd come this year.

"With hotel and flights and organising nannies for the two kids it has cost 1,000 euros.

"The first we knew was 10 minutes after it was meant to kick off. The referee didn't have the courtesy to come and announce it himself. I can't come back as I can't take another day off."

AFP

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Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 0vs FJI 0 05:00Twic
TGA 0vs GEO 0 21:00Kholm
IRE 0vs CAN 0 23:30MilS
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs JPN 0 01:45Brig
FRA 0vs ITA 0 05:00Twic
SAM 0vs USA 0 21:00Brig
WAL 0vs URU 0 23:30MilS
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs ARG 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 0vs JPN 0 23:30Kholm
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs ROM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs NAM 0 05:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 0vs GEO 0 01:45Kholm
ITA 0vs CAN 0 23:30Ella
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SAM 0 01:45Villa
ENG 0vs WAL 0 05:00Twic
AUS 0vs URU 0 21:00Villa
SCO 0vs USA 0 23:30Ella
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 0vs ROM 0 01:45Wemb
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 0vs NAM 0 01:45Sand
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 0vs FJI 0 01:45MilS
FRA 0vs CAN 0 05:00stadium:mk
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 0vs GEO 0 05:00MilS
SAM 0vs JPN 0 23:30stadium:mk
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 0vs SCO 0 01:45St James' Park
ENG 0vs AUS 0 06:00Twic
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 0vs TGA 0 00:30KPS
IRE 0vs ITA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45KPS
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00KPS
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0
New Zealand 0 0 0 0 0 0
Canada 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tonga 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Romania 0 0 0 0 0 0
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0
Georgia 0 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0
USA 0 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Overall standings
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Fiji 0 0 0 0 0 0
Samoa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Namibia 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0
View all
 

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