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Dublin: 22 °C Friday 25 July, 2014

France like ‘clowns in the circus’ – Guscott

Ireland face France in Paris in their tournament finale.

BBC Rugby experts Jonathan Davies and Jeremy Guscott talk to presenter John Inverdale.
BBC Rugby experts Jonathan Davies and Jeremy Guscott talk to presenter John Inverdale.
Image: EMPICS Sport

FORMER ENGLAND CENTRE Jeremy Guscott has hit out at the current France team, saying watching them is “like watching clowns at the circus”.

Guscott played against several brilliant France backs in the course of his career including Philippe Sella and Serge Blanco.

Indeed he was a member of the England side when full-back Blanco launched a stunning move from behind his own post that culminated in a sensational try for current France coach Philippe Saint-Andre at Twickenham back in 1991.

But Guscott has seen little evidence of similar adventure in the present-day Les Bleus, who lost 27-6 to Wales in the Six Nations in Cardiff on Friday after beating Italy 30-10 and starting the tournament with a thrilling 26-24 win over England.

“I sat in the Stade de France during the 30-10 win over Italy two weeks ago and I was gobsmacked at France’s tactics,” Guscott, one of England’s best ball-playing centres, told the BBC.

“It was a case of ‘let the forwards stick it up their jumpers and try to bully and smash their way through’. It was lacklustre and unimaginative in every single way.

“The French attacking line was just so flat against Italy and so laboured as they lost 27-6 to Wales. So laboured, in fact, that the couple of scoring opportunities they had, they couldn’t finish.”

Guscott added: “What saddens me is that their players don’t seem to have a voice. I cannot begin to understand how the likes of Hugo Bonneval, Yoann Huget and Wesley Fofana are happy to play in this restrictive, boring, low-risk manner.

“France head coach Philippe Saint-Andre likes big, strong teams that smash it up front. Given the exciting France team he played in, that’s slightly weird.”

Ireland face France in Paris in their tournament finale.

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