The desperately empty Stade de France, a symbol of French rugby at half mast


If you are afraid of emptiness, do not look at this picture – 20 Minutes / W.P

At the Stade de France,

A sad goodbye. That's how to qualify this last friendly match of the XV of France before the World Cup
in Japan. The score is not for nothing, Brunel's men crushed Italy in a match without history. No, it is about atmosphere, party, fervor and all that is supposed to imply a final outing of the French team before taking off to challenge the world. All that was not Friday night at
Stade de France, where the sieges of a desperately gray void took the upper hand over the 25,000 (maybe 30,000) small flags of the irreducible supporters of the XV of France. The olas, the olés, the "ouuuuh", and other encouragements had them very hard to cover the cries of the 30 warriors who did not care about the face in the green rectangle.

Empty, empty, always empty. Jacques Brunel's men's lap was only accompanied by a tiny belt of spectators at the edge of the lawn. The others, not convinced by the seven tricolor tests, had already deserted. Infinite sadness. Wenceslas Lauret can only note: "Recently it was difficult to fill the stages. We have a certain audience but we know that other fans do not move as before. "

In the press gallery, it's not much better: an interstellar trough. If we had known, we would have asked to have a lounger installed at our desk and to be served a cocktail to write the report, the toes in a fan, there was plenty of room.

Crossing the mixed zone after the match, Arthur Iturria is not fooled and knows that the reconquest of the French public will go through a good World Cup in Japan. Or at least correct. "We know very well that French rugby is going through a difficult period. We are the image of French rugby so we will try to restore it to the maximum and bring people back to the stadiums. It will go through victories, little by little. But we are aware that we must expect that it will take time for the French public to come back. Note that it's not worse. On the Japanese archipelago, the French will in any case to demerder in stages not taken to their cause. It must be seen as a training.

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