The Last Metro France v Wales

Saint-Denis at midnight and the France captain is still doing the media rounds muddied bruised and exhausted after the opening game of the 2019 Guinness six nations.

Nine o’clock kick offs may be good news for the home supporters who can indulge in a leisurely dinner pre match but for players it is the final knockings of a very long day.

As Friday night nudges into Saturday morning Guilhem Guirado can finally grab a shower after the endless round of media commitments time to start the long process of unwinding it will be many hours before he can finally get the kind of sleep a warrior deserves, although sleep may be in short supply after the extraordinary events on the field.

The dark streets of Saint-Denis illuminated by neon hotel signs and dimly lit bars are nearly empty as the last metro ferries supporters back to Gare du Nord and central Paris.

An uneasy peace descends on the Stade de France the moonlight reflecting in the Icy puddles as the shutters on the food outlets echo to a close in the Parisian night,the final espresso dispensed.

On a bitter cold night the warm red shirts of Wales created a comeback that Lazarus would have found difficult to comprehend, as they turned around a 16-0 deficit at half time to score three second half tries and earn a 24-19 victory.

It was Wales biggest ever half time turnaround in a 5/6 Nations match and the look of sheer desolation on the French faces at full time was haunting.

Even with Poirot in the front row it is difficult to unfathom the mystery of how France let a big lead slip

But there is no time to dwell the matches come thick and fast in the Six Nations, France and Wales will head in opposite directions for Round Two next weekend.

In 1888 Vincent Van Gogh left a dull grey Paris and headed south by train for the unique almost heavenly light of Provence, the artists of Wales headed south to the Côte d’Azur on Saturday where they will camp in Nice in preparation for next weeks game with Italy.

Warren Gatland will be hoping things warm up in both rugby and climate terms and they will looking for an eighty plus minutes performance at Stadio Olympico.

France face a daunting trip to Twickenham next week, and Jacques Brunel will have to repair badly dented hearts and minds, it is an ill icy wind blowing around the stade de France and it’s blowing directly in the face of French rugby.



2 thoughts on “The Last Metro France v Wales

  1. Agree about the evening KOs in France. There was an England game around 15 years back that was 9pm KO. Long day’s build-up! By the time we’d got out of the ground and queued for a train and back into the city centre it was gone midnight. And by the time we’d got to the agreed bar meeting point and got the first couple of beers under our belt it was 2am, at which point the clocks changed for summer time as it was last w/e of March, so it was actually 3am! Fortunately the bar stayed open until around 6am (or so I’m told!) but those sorts of timings play havoc with Sunday travel arrangements!


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