Mike Tindall lashes into Morgan Parra and underperforming French stars
"The problem with the French is... "
France copped an unmerciful hiding from England in round two of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations. Having contrived to lose their championship opener against Wales, having been 16 ahead at half-time, Les Bleus were then hammered 44-8 by England at Twickenham.
While many fans were aghast at the lack of application from several French players, head coach Jacques Brunel and his staff were highlighted as fundamental flaws to the national team. That was certainly the opinion of senior players such as Morgan Parra, who told reporters:
"I think that we are capable of doing what the English do, but are we working on this during training? I think we don't work on it enough, even not at all... We can do this. But do we work on it? No."
On the latest episode of JOE UK's House of Rugby, English rugby stars James Haskell and Mike Tindall felt there was some amount of buck-passing going on, and that a rake of established stars had let themselves and their country down.
After being informed that the above comments were from Parra, a disgusted Tindall exclaimed,
"The French players are very good at circling the wagons for themselves and pushing the guy at the top out... Hang on, Morgan Parra! He f***ing got ran past by a try by a flanker when they put in that kick for Jonny May's try. He shouldn't even be in the team!
"Everyone is saying he shouldn't be in the team, so why is he speaking up? Antoine Dupont should be in there, playing ahead of him. When England put that kick through, they didn't even try running back. I know it was Jonny May running past him, but you're supposed to at least try and look like you're making an effort, to be a leader of that team."
Haskell, who played with Stade Francais in the Top 14 before, believes French rugby officials are afraid to make the tough decisions that are needed to get their national team back to their former glories.
Tindall feels those in charge of national team affairs need to prioritise an elite squad set-up that gives senior players more time training together before big championships. "The days of you rocking up five days before a Test match and then playing are not going to work," said Tindall.
The full conversation is available here [from 28:00 below] and is well worth your time.
Episode 18 sees Alex Payne joined by Mike Tindall and James Haskell to discuss round two of the 2019 Guinness Six Nations, rugby players obsessed with gardening and Dylan Hartley's motivation before a famous Test Series win.