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Rugby Paris Style

Some background… The 2007 Rugby World Cup is the sixth quadrennial international rugby union world championship.  It is being hosted by France from 7 September to 20 October 2007. France won the right to host the event in 2003, beating a bid from England.  This involves twenty nations – 48 matches over 44 days. Forty-two matches will be played in ten different French cities, and four matches in Cardiff, Wales, and two more in Edinburgh, Scotland. The French cities are Bordeaux, Lens, Lyon, Marseilles, Montpellier, Nantes, St. Etienne, Toulouse and Paris, with the championship match at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.  You know that place – the big concrete thing you pass on your way into the city from the airport that some call Charlie – built for the 1998 FIFA World Cup (France actually won). The International Rugby Board's official Rugby World Cup site for 2007 is here, should you want to know more.

On Friday, September 7, I received this from Our Man in Paris, Ric Erickson, editor of MetropoleParis

    Hola Alan - Bof

    World Cup rugby started tonight. In front of 80,000 frenzied fans in the Stade de France, France managed to lose to Argentina, by 12 to 17. If many of the Argentine faces looked familiar it was because more than half of their team plays in the French Rugby League. Bumps and grinds, thrills and spills and some uncharacteristic missed shots marked play that surged up and down the field - seen here in brilliant shades of green, purple, pink and back and white. Trust my TV to become color-blind a week before the tournament, which continues until 20 October.

    - el 'fano' rico

Wolrd Cup rugby on a bad TV in Paris

The reply from Hollywood –

    I find I can watch the rugby game of the moment live, in full color, on the outdoor big screen at the Hôtel de Ville, via the orange.com webcam there, steaming in real time from Paris.  The webcam is sort of aimed at the screen.  It's ten in the morning here, and seven in the evening there.  Your weather looks good.  The late sun on the face of the old building is cool.  The crowd looks small and bored.  The traffic in the distance looks light.  This is all very odd.  I'm in Los Angeles, damn it!

From Paris –

    I just came from there. It was the Brits beating the Yanks. No great crowd - there might have been more watching Notre Dame doing nothing. All the same it's a big place with a big screen and you could hear the sound. Better than at Trocadero where they have a Rugby Village - called in French, "Rugby Town."  This is below the outlook over the Tour Eiffel - a hot, humid tent full of LCDs and a bar and trinket stands. The floor is going to look pretty shitty by the time the final rolls around in October but we can live with it. I don't have the final UK-USA score yet. I didn't look like it was going to be good for you.

It wasn't. England Fail To Soar In Win Against Eagles – "Reigning champions England began the 2007 World Cup with an unconvincing 28-10 win against the United States in Pool A…."  But it looked like a pleasant time at the Hôtel de Ville.

The 2007 Rugby World Cup on screen at the Hôtel de Ville, Paris Saturday, September 8, 2007
The 2007 Rugby World Cup on screen at the Hôtel de Ville, Paris Saturday, September 8, 2007

Oh yes, the controversy about online photos

    A coalition of more than 40 news organizations abruptly ended an unprecedented two-day boycott of the Rugby World Cup on Friday, hours before the opening game with a last-minute compromise offered by sports organizers who relented on restrictions on photographs used online.

    The news group, which included the leading international news agencies, The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters, had staged what amounted to the equivalent of a rousing rugby haka war dance, challenging the sports authorities who had sought to limit the number of photographs used online to 20 during each half of matches.

    With less than two hours remaining before the beginning of the first World Cup match pitting France against Argentina, the International Rugby Board announced that it had shifted positions, permitting news organizations to post online up to 200 still photographs during live matches. ….

This of course does not apply here.

Paris Text and Photos Copyright © 2007 - Ric Erickson, MetropoleParis


There was a bit of discussion of how rugby may not seem very French to Americans.  From Ric –

    It's a good game. Baseball is good too if you are in accord with its tempo. If you take your mind off it you often miss crucial plays; as opposed to getting kind of bored if you pay constant close attention. But rugby is a game that moves, moves, moves. Like a running brawl with invisible rules. And those players - granite tossers, bull wrestlers - carriers, passers, blockers, flys - I wonder what they do in real life. Do they have to register as lethal weapons?

And there's this today at the Eiffel Tower, along with all the rugby stuff.  That's a rooster, not a chicken.

The 2007 Rugby World Cup, rooster at Eiffel Tower
[Rugby Paris Style]

All text and photos, unless otherwise noted, Copyright © 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 - Alan M. Pavlik