French fans swoon over Valentine’s date in Dublin

The Beast and company keen to give Irish the blues as revenge a dish best served in capital

 

As the Gallic hordes advance, not even a typically damp and dreary Dublin weekend can deter the ebullient spirits of France’s rugby fanatics.

A sense of unbridled enthusiasm and expectancy pervaded among the 6,000 blue-clad supporters as they dodged puddles on their way to the watering holes of Temple Bar.

“We’ve come here today because we think France will win tomorrow, because the coach is the best in Europe, ” says Bordeaux native Pascal Brostin. “It is revenge tomorrow – they really want to win,” he says, expressing conviction that his team can banish the demons of an ignominious home defeat last March.

In contrast to an underwhelming opening performance from Les Bleus against a spirited Scottish outfit last week, Jean-Luis Mondy believes the quality of their Irish opponents will elicit a more aesthetically-pleasing performance from Philippe Saint-André’s charges.

“French flair will win against the fighting spirit of the Irish. Ireland is very strong now and France will have a good dynamic because of this. Like the All-Blacks, when France play against them they are good, and they will be good against Ireland also.”

There was one dissenting voice in the group – Parisian Valery Loriot wasn’t sure France can cut the proverbial Dijon mustard against Ireland.

“I’m not sure this year is the best year for us. It’s nearly five years since we last won the tournament,” says a morose Loriot.

“We don’t have a very nice team, it’s not certain we can win with our French team. It’s not offensive rugby, unfortunately.”

Irish fans are keen to set a marker ahead of the World Cup clash of the two sides later this year.

“It will be an open game because both sides want to prove their players ahead of the World Cup. If it’s a tight game, they’re not going to be able to read a lot from one another for their next encounter in the World Cup,” says Paul Scully, with sons Matthew and Jeremiah in tow.

Paris may be the city of love, but some of its inhabitants have put sporting passions ahead of romantic intentions this weekend.

“I’m very happy to be here for St Valentine’s weekend. It’s a pleasure for our wives to be alone in France, a very nice present for them,” says Monsieur Loriot, as he polishes off a pint of the black stuff.