Throughout the preparation for the 2015 World Cup, the then France coach Philippe Saint-Andre hosted six of the nation’s high cooks to the squad’s coaching base at Marcoussis. What was served to the gamers was studiously reported by an envious French press: lobster medallions, stuffed potatoes, inexperienced bean salad with foie gras and peaches. And that was only for starters. Subsequent had been two wild salmon – eight kilos every – accompanied by a salad of peas, feta cheese and mint. A short respite after which got here the foie gras soup with oysters, adopted by a cassoulet and varied barbecued meats. Dessert consisted of a buffet of delicacies together with chocolate truffles and lemon meringue tarts. “We ate and laughed with them,” mentioned one of many cooks, Yves Camdeborde. “It was like a picnic with associates. After midnight, there was nothing left to eat.”
The following time France had been that stuffed was within the quarter-final, thrashed 62-15 by New Zealand. One imagines that the All Blacks didn’t prepare for the 2015 World Cup on foie gras and lemon meringue tarts.
The bond between French gamers and their meals stays, and incessantly the cash gamers make from the game is invested in eating places
France usually are not so decadent below Fabien Galthie’s regime, which matches some to explaining why the Bleus are fitter than they’ve ever been. The times are gone when France would invariably wilt within the remaining quarter of matches as all these chocolate truffles caught up with them.
Nonetheless the bond between French gamers and their meals stays, and incessantly the cash gamers make from the game is invested in eating places. Xavier Garbajosa, Clément Poitrenaud, David Attoub, Frédéric Michalak, William Servat, Fabien Pelous, Pascal Pape and Jean-Luc Sadourny are simply among the Bleus who’ve in some form or type entered the restaurant commerce.
A few of them fail spectacularly, comparable to Michalak’s ‘64’ restaurant, which was launched in 2010 however lasted simply eighteen months. One other high-profile participant who was unable to switch his expertise on the rugby discipline to the restaurant commerce was Jean-Pierre Rives.
However, Patrick Soula, a member of the Toulouse squad within the Nineteen Nineties, opened his first restaurant – ‘Tommy’s Diner’ – in 1993 and he now has an extra ten with a complete workers of 400.
Jean-Marie Cadieu, a former teammate of Soula’s, who gained 12 caps for France within the second row, ran a restaurant for 20 years in Toulouse. “There are not any secrets and techniques within the restaurant enterprise,” he mentioned. “To succeed, as in skilled rugby, you must study the commerce after which dedicate your self 100% to it. Prospects are fooled two or 3 times, hardly ever extra, by the jokers who simply put their identify on an indication and are by no means there.”
There’s a lengthy custom of farming in French rugby, from the Spanghero brothers to the nice prop Jean-Pierre Garuet, hooker Daniel Dubroca, by means of to prop Jérôme Rey, a member of the present Lyon squad
However the hyperlink between meals and rugby in France is extra profound than the restaurant commerce; its roots are within the soil itself. One of many official suppliers for this 12 months’s World Cup is a union of French agricultural cooperatives. When the deal was introduced, the then match organiser, Claude Atcher, declared: “That’s the place rugby comes from: from these areas the place custom is dared, the place each gesture is a part of the respect for nature and the celebration of its excellence.”
There’s a lengthy custom of farming in French rugby, from the Spanghero brothers to the nice prop Jean-Pierre Garuet, hooker Daniel Dubroca, by means of to prop Jérôme Rey, a member of the present Lyon squad, who splits his time between the coaching floor and his dairy farm. “I come from the center of France,” Garuet as soon as mentioned. “From the land.”
Louis Picamoles is the most recent well-known French identify to launch his new life on the land, what Le Figaro described as “one other illustration of the sturdy hyperlinks which have united the worlds of rugby and agriculture for a few years”. Picamoles, who gained 82 caps for the Bleus within the again row, is studying the best way to develop into a producer of certainly one of France’s specialities: goat’s cheese. A digital camera crew not too long ago spent a few days with Picamoles and his spouse on their remoted property the place they reside with their herd of goats. It’s a great distance from the glamorous life he led as a global sportsman however one which Picamoles is evidently having fun with: “I just like the solidarity that you just discover within the farming neighborhood,” he mentioned. “And it’s much like the values we’ve got in rugby.”
Antoine Dupont comes from Castelnau-Magnoac, a small village within the Pyrenees. His household has been right here since 1850. Within the final thirty years his uncle, father and elder brother, Clement, have develop into award successful breeders of the well-known ‘Black Pig of Bigorre
Picamoles was a rarity amongst French rugby gamers in that he hailed from the north of the nation; the game’s heartlands are within the deep south. The blood is hotter down right here, the villages and cities extra tribal, and agriculture has historically been on the coronary heart of communities greater than within the industrialised north. It’s a virile land and rugby appealed to the lads who labored the soil.
Antoine Dupont comes from Castelnau-Magnoac, a small village within the Pyrenees. His household has been right here since 1850, operating a restaurant and farming. Within the final thirty years his uncle, father and elder brother, Clement, have develop into award successful breeders of the well-known ‘Black Pig of Bigorre’. “We spent our childhood between the household restaurant, fishing journeys and looking with our grandfather,” defined Clement in a latest interview with Midi Olympique. “When [Antoine] visits Castelnau-Magnoac, it’s to get away from every part, escape the everyday stress. The countryside is right in that respect as a result of it’s pure and unchanging.”
The final time France hosted the World Cup was in 2007 when, inexplicably, a median free ahead with lengthy hair and a beard grew to become the face of the match in France. The ‘Caveman’, as Sebastien Chabal was identified, was a advertising creation who embarrassed rugby’s connoisseurs. There’s nothing embarrassing or phoney about Antoine Dupont, whose picture adorns a lot of the pre-tournament publicity in France.
The Toulouse scrum-half isn’t just the face of the World Cup, he’s the soul of French rugby, the illustration of its rural roots. He’s a person of the earth, and, one suspects, a person with a style for a very good plate of pigeon confit.