The French make triumphant return home after successful 2023 Rugby World Cup bid
The singing started in London and by the time their train pulled into Paris‚ Gare du Nord‚ the French delegation may have been swinging from the chandeliers.
Delegation head and president of the French Rugby Federation‚ Bernard Laporte‚ led a spontaneous rendition of the La Marseillaise at the Royal Garden Hotel in London where France were announced hosts of the 2023 Rugby World Cup at the expense of South Africa and Ireland.
Laporte and his party were in full voice by the time they boarded a Eurostar train back to Paris.
Once on board the former scrumhalf‚ a man was under huge pressure to deliver France the World Cup‚ invited the train's staff to the drinks cart.
He wanted an old fashioned post match drinking session and got it.
Laporte had reason to pop the corks.
Had he not delivered the World Cup he had promised‚ the former Sports Minister and national coach may have run the risk of spending his twilight years banished to a far flung island.
"This World Cup is for all of French rugby‚" he tweeted.
"The economical benefits will be for them (a pointed reference to the amateur ranks that they too will benefit). With all of the changes we initiated in French rugby we really needed this World Cup."
France 2023 bid ambassador Sebastien Chabal gave a player's perspective.
"To play in a World Cup at home is the greatest honour a professional athlete can have‚" he said from behind his lush beard.
Hosting the World Cup a mere 16 years after they did so in 2007 is a major coup for France.
Having earned the right to stage the 2024 summer Olympics they on Wednesday consolidated their place at the centre of the sporting world in the next six‚ seven years.
Their modern infrastructure and promise of massive profit must have resonated with World Rugby council members.
Inevitably there will be sighs elsewhere.
France's ambassador to South Africa Christophe Farnaud‚ was all 'entente' when asked to comment yesterday.
"We are very happy to have been chosen as the host country for the World Rugby Cup in 2023‚" he said.
"I am sure we will organize a very beautiful and successful World Cup.
"Let me also congratulate South Africa for the quality of its bid.
"You put up a strong fight. We hope South Africans will come in their numbers to France in 2023.”
To get to host the Rugby World Cup and the Olympics in consecutive years is some achievement for a country that has suffered at the hands of terror in the last few years.
The events at Charlie Hebdo‚ the Bataclan and Nice among others‚ darkened the mood here.
The Rugby World Cup‚ with some inspiration from Guy Fawkes' creations however‚ will restore a temporary glow.
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