By Paul Morgan, editor of Rugby World Magazine
It was very disappointing to see Racing Club of Paris – of all teams – playing the sort of negative rugby that will seriously harm our game, in their match against Wasps in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
This is the club (now called Racing Metro 92) that used to typify the flair and everything good about French rugby.
But they play such a tedious style it is incredible that they are wearing the same shirts worn by some sensational players before them. They only started to play with the ball in hand in the last five minutes, and actually produced some good rugby.
Almost every time the ball went to outside-half Jonathan Wisniewski , almost wherever the ball was, he hoofed it high in the air. He did it once when he was 40 metres from the Wasps line – what a joke!
It is probably not Wisniewski’s fault as he is no doubt carrying out orders. But when do the players stand up and say we’ve had enough of this. It is heartbreaking to see the team is coached by rugby visionary Pierre Berbizier – has he forgotten how France won all those Five Nations titles?
What on earth Francois Steyn, his inside centre, thinks of this is anyone’s guess. But why pay big bucks to bring Steyn from South Africa, one of the best young players in the world, and then ask him to chase endless, boring, kicks? You may as well just buy a 6ft 4in bosher who can chase. He doesn’t need the cultured hands of Steyn.
Midway through the first half Sebastien Chabal got the ball 10 metres into his own half and instead of going on one of the trademark runs that made Seabass a legend in Sale, even he kicked it…and of course didn’t regather.
This is the club of Denis Charvet, a club that asked their players to have a glass of champagne at half-time in one French final – that they won!
This is like Manchester United playing six at the back and trying to win every game 1-0.
This is not the way to play rugby and as they have bee eliminated from the competition it clearly isn’t a too successful strategy either. It is so limited that it is so easy to stop and teams will find you out.
I was delighted to see the way Danny Cipriani led the Wasps counter-attacking when Racing Club ludicrously kicked into the Wasps 22.
Please see the light those who run Racing Metro 92 – this is not the way forward. Focus on what you did in the last five minutes – that is how to win a game!
Now it is time for the IRB to withdraw the law that says when you pass back into the 22 you can’t kick it out on the full. This I believe is the root of all the problems – the fuss about the breakdown is a red herring.
After the rant other things of note:
Danny Cipriani: How Martin Johnson continues to ignore this young lad is anyone’s guess. He’s on fire at the moment. He’s even got his kicking boots back on now.
Tom Varndell: He is simply the quickest in the game – a finisher par excellence – and if he doesn’t win 50 caps for England before his career is over it will be the fault of the coaches.