Spring is beginning to show its colours in the foothills of the Pyrenees, the beautiful mountain flowers are beginning to bloom in the sunshine.
Things are quieter this spring in those famous rugby towns. France have returned Lazarus style to rugby’s top table, and their infectious style is an antidote to the other infectious troubled times we are all now facing.
Just as we were being warmed by the gorgeous back play that has been missing for so long, a chilling sinister presence came in from the East to put a hold on the joyous return of Les Bleus.
Despite defeat by Scotland in the corona virus truncated Guinness Six Nations, the baby Bleus have captured the hearts of the French public, and the love affair with the national team is back on.
It was beginning to feel just like the old days, a French prop was even sent off for punching, just to underline that this was no false dawn.
For now we have to make do with replays and reflections, where rugby goes from here we have no idea, but it is almost certain that sport and life will never be the quite the same again.
France host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and what a wonderful joyous virus free return and celebration that could turn out to be, a time of joy, to appreciate life to the full, and also to remember those we have lost.
The RWC 2023 draw is set to take place on schedule this autumn despite widespread disruption to the 2020 calendar caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Reports in France suggest the draw will not be postponed from the planned date November 30.
Claude Atcher, the head of RWC 2023 told L’Equipe, there will only be one stipulation made.
The World Rugby rankings due to the already played Six Nations matches won’t be taken into consideration unless the remaining matches from the competition are played.
That would mean the draw would be based on the rankings upon the conclusion of last year’s World Cup in Japan, bad news for Scotland and Argentina, who were ranked 9th and 10th at the end of RWC 2019.
Wales will be among the beneficiaries having seen their ranking dip due to disappointing Six Nations defeats to England, France and Ireland.
Wayne Pivac’s side are currently sixth in the world, meaning they are currently second seeds for the 2023 World Cup draw.
However, if the Six Nations is not completed later this year, Wales would jump back up to top seeds, giving them the best chance of a favourable draw. Should the remaining Six Nations matches be played out in a few months time, it would put added pressure on the Wales-Scotland clash in Cardiff.
It may be a meaningless match in Six Nations terms, but it could well have huge implications for the next World Cup. A win for Wales would see them overtake France into fifth place in the world rankings, if Scotland win, they would leapfrog Wales and Australia into sixth spot with Wayne Pivac’s side slipping down to eighth.
If Wales lost by 15 points or more it would have major consequences should they go on and play their held-over matches against Japan and New Zealand in the autumn, if the summer tour is cancelled due to the Covid-19 crisis.
It would mean a Japan victory over Wales would relegate Pivac’s side down to ninth spot in the rankings table, with Argentina (10th) also looking to overhaul them.
The Seedings if the postponed Six Nations matches are not played.
• Band 1 teams: South Africa, New Zealand, England, Wales
• Band 2 teams: Ireland, Australia, France, Japan
• Band 3 teams: Scotland, Argentina, Fiji, Italy
• Band 4 teams: Africa 1, Europe 1, Oceania 1, Americas 1
• Band 5 teams: Oceania 2, Americas 2, Repechage 1, R
A lot to think of ,but for now it all seems light years away. Corona virus has no shame and no fear, it even hit Sébastien Chabal for goodness sake.
Stay safe everyone.