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RWC: What the papers are saying
« on: October 13, 2007, 07:15:47 PM »

What the papers are saying
(Rugby News Service) Saturday 13 October 2007

PARIS, 13 October - The hot topic of conversation in the English and French newspapers on Saturday is the IRB Rugby World Cup 2007 semi-final between the nations at the Stade de France.

We have picked out a selection of the best from both sides of the Channel as the tension builds before kick off at 21:00 CET.

"England's grand campaigners steeled for epic siege of Paris" trumpeted The Independent as the British paper recalled the rivalry across both sporting and national divides, before adding that the French will employ "le jeu dur" and are prepared to play it hard on what they say will be an occasion for nerves of steel and hearts of stone.


The Guardian had its fair share of positive headlines with "England's old guard can bend the game to their will" just one of many as they reported of spirits being high in the England camp with confidence of overturning the hosts high.

"Broccoli v foie gras: two nations prepare for Le Crunch in Paris" was another headline in The Guardian, a tongue in cheek reference to the two team's dining habits in the match widely billed as 'Le Crunch'.

By contrast one of the headlines in French daily L'Equipe was "Bring out the big game! It will be a furious combat for Bernard Laporte's men against the defending world champions".

"And so we meet again" continued L'Equipe, which was followed by a history of significent sporting meetings against what they described as "their best enemy".

Popular British tabloid The Sun proclaimed a "fight to the death" on its back page, playing on the meaning of an Oriental tattoo of England captain Phil Vickery and "England Expects" on its front.

"England in no mood to surrender to France" continued the battle cries amongst The Daily Mail headlines, while the French capital's popular daily Le Parisien carried a full front page photograph of the team singing the national anthem under a "Allez France"

"Give us the final that all of France is hoping for" continued Le Parisien on their inside page. "After the achievement of beating the All Blacks and a semi-final defeat against the English four years ago, 'les Bleus' cannot let us down. An entire country will be pushing behind them."

The Daily Telegraph's column by Sue Mott appears under the headline "England proving l'Attitude and not latitude is the key" as she talks of a revitalised team and nation's support, while former England coach Dick Best's column sits under the banner of "Time to hunt down France".

"Ibanez-Vickery, a friendship in brackets. Tonight they play for themselves" is another headline in Le Parisien, a reference to the friendship between London Wasps team-mates and rival captains RaphaŽl Ibanez and Phil Vickery.

And finally, regional daily Ouest-France warned that "for the French XV, the hardest is yet to come."
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