Six Nations: 'Spanked' France in 'rugby recession'

The French rugby team - dubbed "Les Miserables" by an English scribe - are officially "in recession" after a record defeat at Twickenham.

Various media outlets - on both sides of the English Channel - have been writing France's rugby requiem after the 44-8 Six Nations series drubbing.

France - three-time Rugby World Cup runners-up - have now sunk to 10th in the world rankings.

No excuses were offered by the French players with flanker Arthur Iturria declaring: "We got spanked". They were stronger and we have to work hard to get to that level."

"Scotland will come to beat us [in the next round], like everybody does now," Iturria shrugged.

While Daily Telegraph rugby correspondent Mick Cleary hailed England's excellence, he said the English crowd should also "grieve, too, for Les Miserables of France, limp, dishevelled and wretched, a pale imitation of what Les Bleus used to be. Oh my [Serge] Blanco and [Jean-Pierre] Rives of long ago, where have you gone? It was not so much Le Crunch as La Catastrophe."

France's Rugby Rama website pulled no punches, claiming French rugby was "regressing, by the year" despite "promises of a blue revival" after current head coach Jacques Brunel replaced Guy Noves, who was sacked in December 2017.

"The years go by and they all look the same," the Rugby Rama report lamented, noting France's ranking had plummeted to "a sad, but deserved, tenth place".

"Not only the Blues are not progressing, but they are even in recession for more than two years."

France had "now fully entered the second division of world rugby".

France's 36-point defeat in London came a week after Les Bleus conceded 24 second half points in a 24-19 defeat to Wales in Paris in the first round.

The gap was widening between France and Europe's powerhouse teams, Rugby Rama said. "Slowly but surely, it becomes gaping."

France had conceded 33 tries - or 4.1 per game - in its last eight test matches.

France now, potentially, faced "a holy fright" against a progressive Scotland team with "exciting offensive potential" on February 23 at the Stade de France, Rugby Rama claimed. 

"And the rest is scary... It's hard to imagine these Blues bringing back anything but a defeat from their trip to Ireland.

"If the sauce turns [to] vinegar against Scotland ...  it is therefore with the sole objective of avoiding the wooden spoon that France will go to Italy, at the end of the tournament. It would be rather unworthy of the history of this jersey.