Rugby World Cup: Night on town eases French pain

French first-five Francois Trinh-Duc (left) and winger Cedric Heymans chat to people in a car at traffic lights.
Photo / Sarah Ivey
French first-five Francois Trinh-Duc (left) and winger Cedric Heymans chat to people in a car at traffic lights. Photo / Sarah Ivey

The French team partied hard into the late hours of yesterday morning in a bid to overcome the heartbreak of defeat.

As the Rugby World Cup progressed, France became the team no one gave a chance, but all this was forgiven when they pushed the All Blacks hard in Sunday night's final - losing 8-7.

But the night did not end there for the players and a Herald photographer snapped a few of them at the corner of Nelson St and Victoria St West at 9.45am yesterday.

First five Francois Trinh-Duc, flanker Fulgence Ouedraogo, winger Cedric Heymans and lock Julien Pierre looked a little the worse for wear after a night on the town. But this was hardly surprising considering their painful defeat the night before and Pierre's comments after the match: "We will have to remember all the moments we spent together, because it's a human adventure which stays with you for life.

"Even if everything wasn't perfect, we gave everything we had. Now we're going to get drunk together, and drink some beers like spoilt brats!"

In a sea of black, Jean Philippe Mouthom, 37, from French Guiana, was proudly wearing his Les Bleus shirt while he waited for the mid-afternoon All Black parade. He'd partied long into the night with the French team - but his lips would remain zipped on what had happened.

"I spent the night with them. I can't say what happened but I haven't been to sleep. I'm so very proud. They didn't have a good tournament but they had a wonderful final."

He teased All Black fans around him that the home team had actually been playing with 17 on the field: the first 15, the referee and the public support.

Upset about South African referee Craig Joubert's handling of the match was a common theme coming from France last night. The Herald received a number of emails from French fans complaining about the referee.

Stephane Flavia said the final score was France 7 - NZ + Joubert 8 and said Joubert had given "no penalties for France within the NZ 22 when AB were offside on every ruck".

"You are a poor country and poor winners."

Paul Henri Guacher wrote: "What a shame to win a rugby final this way. I don't think the Black deserve it today. The most valuable team today was the French one and you can make a statue for M Joubert who 'forgot' to umpire honestly at this game today. Hope I will see the revenge one day."

Another French fan said New Zealand "was given the cup by Craig Joubert!! Shame on Craig Joubert. Shame on you!!! Shame on the people in Hell Park of Auckland!!

- NZ Herald

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