Croydon council say a parking ticket given to the French team bus was not retaliation to the derogatory remarks made in the French press about the town

When the French rugby team were told they were to be based ‘just outside London’ for the Rugby World Cup, doubtless they imagined the castled decadence of Windsor or the leafy Hertfordshire countryside.

So when the team bus pulled up in Croydon some players were far from impressed.

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New Zealand-born prop Uini Atonio complained of a bad night’s sleep when a wedding at the team’s Selsdon Park Hotel kept him awake and then the team bus was given a parking ticket for illegally stopping outside a restaurant in the town.

One journalist from France’s MetroNews described Croydon as ‘dull’, ‘monotonous’, and ‘pas tres chic’, but the local council denies the parking ticket was in response to the derogatory comments.

“Despite appearances, this is not Croydon’s revenge for disparaging remarks allegedly made about the town by a French rugby journalist earlier this week,” a council spokesman said.

“The fact of the matter is that the coach was parked illegally in a bus stop on a busy main road.”

Coach Philippe Saint-Andre told the Evening Standard: “(The organisers) chose (Croydon) for us, we did not have a say. We could not choose a hotel in the centre of London, unfortunately for our players, who could have gone shopping more easily.

“But we are not going to complain.”

France kick off their campaign against Six Nations rivals Italy at Twickenham on Saturday evening, so let’s hope there are no more noisy weddings planned at their hotel this week.

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