Kerre McIvor

Kerre McIvor is a Herald on Sunday columnist

Kerre Woodham: Gallant French relinquish blackout

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France team manager Jo Maso. Photo / Sarah Ivey
France team manager Jo Maso. Photo / Sarah Ivey

A great big merci beaucoup to the French rugby team manager, Jo Maso, who was responsible for a remarkable sporting gesture at the Rugby World Cup this week.

As is customary, the captains of opposing Rugby World Cup teams toss a coin before each game to decide who will be the home team and who will play away - and if the two preferred rugby jerseys clash, the winner of the toss gets to wear their normal strip. The loser wears their away jersey.

Rugby fans will remember with horror our All Black team running out at Cardiff in the quarter-final of the last Rugby World Cup wearing their dull grey No2 uniform after Tana Umaga lost the toss under the stand. France went on to win that game and the All Blacks came home early.

But this week, Maso, a former French centre and an International Rugby Hall of Fame inductee, said that if the French made it to the final and won the toss, the All Blacks could wear their black jerseys and France would wear their white away strip.

Maso said the French respected the All Blacks and it would be only right for them to wear the black jersey on home turf.

It was a wonderfully gentlemanly concession on Maso's part, especially in a tournament where the games are won by the slimmest of margins and psychological edges.

His gesture typifies the outstanding sportsmanship that has been the feature of this tournament.

With the France-Wales game played after my deadline, I only know one thing for sure - the All Blacks have to win tonight.

- Herald on Sunday

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