Category Archives: France rugby betting

The French ten situation – Mo Money, Mo Problems

How do you solve the French problem at out-half?

PSA and Parra

Only a blind man with blinkers could deny all is not well in that part of the field but where to begin?

Best place to start is probably  to define the role of the 10 in French domestic rugby…..Traditionally, France has always had a significant divide between backs & forwards and the out-half was generally “piggy in the middle”. Bernard Laporte walked a 16 legged tortoise around the stadia of France to win the national title in 1991.   There was an out-half there too of course,  for the kick-offs etc……   Four of the clubs loyal followers were given jerseys 11 to 15.   These chaps were useful before a lineout as having clean kit they could wipe the ball dry for the throw in.  I exaggerate of course, but not that much……..

Forwards do the work, scrum-halves guide them.  When “les gros” get tired you send the ball out to the “gazelles” at the back & hope they don’t muck it up.   The fly-half’s role is to act as intermediary between the two & above all else, reward the forwards hard work by scoring with his kicks.    It’s very simple really. A 10 is required by the unwritten rules of French rugby “not to fart about & kick properly”.   You can understand why Blanco would have built a tunnel to Cork with a dedicated TGV line if ROG had been willing to sign for Biarritz!

But back to the here & now.  Trinh-Duc & Michalak are the selected French 10’s. Michalak is at best a 9 and a half imho.  He was incredibly hyped up before & during the ’03 World Cup (he’s been around a while eh?)   & we saw where that got him. He did a job behind a very vigorous and dominant pack during the Autumn Internationals yet he is but second choice for his club. That pack is no longer so vigorous and Freddie has been all at sea.  Confidence is and always has been an issue for him.

Trinh-Duc has made his way up through the ranks of Montpelier, well coached, well protected, has a reasonable tackle, good general skills…….but he can’t kick. Why not?………….  Its not as if he doesn’t have the time or the facilities in which to practise……Temperament maybe? But then, who else is there?   Actually when you come to that who else has there been?

Looking back quickly I think of Lacroix, Deylaud, Camberabero, Lamaison even Castaignède……..but apart from possibly Cambé, does any French oh spring quickly to mind when you think of “French Flair”?   Obviously Maso, Blanco, Sella, N’Tamack, even Saint-André……….but fly halves?   My examples are not exhaustive & I’ll stand corrected but off the top of my head none really stand out.

I do think of Fouroux, Berbizier, Galthié, Ellisade, Yachvili, Parra & many others.  All on field generals marshalling their team to victory on many occasions.  But they are scrum halves……So if we have a doubt about the suitability of Fred & Francois, who should the French opt for instead?  Let’s have a look at the elite Top 14 league.

Toulouse have Mc Alister(NZ) considered N°1 by the club yet a chap on a fishing holiday (Donald) was called up to seal the deal for the Blacks in 2011.  Beauxis has worn “Bleu” but is at best a journeyman, a good place kicker but that’s about it. Bayonne have Boyet, who in fairness has been unlucky but is close to calling it a day.  Stephen Brett (NZ) arrives next season. Some young chaps on the horizon but nothing for  the here & now. Clermont have “Brittle” Brock (AUS), Skrela well past it and Mike Delany(NZ) next season.

Perpie have James Hook (Wales)…….

Racing have Wisisneski, yet to convince & Sexton (IRL) will be there next year. Paris (Stade Francais) have Plisson, a possible, if he can keep Morne Styen (SA) on the bench……..ahem!

Toulon have Sir Jonny, who’s signed for another year (no doubt to the delight of Freddie!)

Biarritz have Peyrolongue, at 32, unlikely.  Barraque had a great start to the season but faded….Blair Stewart in Grenoble, nobody really standing out in Castres, possibly Tales. Bordeaux have Lopez, who was given a chance by PSA, didn’t convince the staff & is off to USAP to play second fiddle to Hook, who can hardly get a game with Wales, & finally Monty, with  Tin Duck……….

So what is PSA to do?

To be honest, those that have not been picked by the French staff are in no way superior to Freddie&Francois.  There are chaps who can’t get a game in their club against Non French Qualified players who are not considered good enough back where they came from.  The possible exception being Wilko, an aging if great talent & Bernie would be mad not to use him. In any case, you are judged on what you can or  cannot do so until one of these guys steps up to the mark why on earth would PSA change what he has now?

Mind you………….there is one possibility……… who maybe could do the job……… if you think about it……………he has 49 caps, he can kick & he’s only 24……………but then No………. its probably too mad!

Even for the French…………………….But what about?……………. Morgan Parra?



(image of Phillippe Sait Andre taken from

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Rugby Betting tips & Previews,Odds, Canada v Italy (3am), Fiji v Scotland (3am), Argentina v France (10pm),16th June (times GMT)


Rugby Media Coverage

Nothing official yet, likely to be streaming available.

Best Odds Betting/Team Win Handicap
5/2 bet365 -7 10/11 bet365
Italy 4/11 paddypower +8 10.11 paddypower

Canada v Italy Betting Preview 3am Gmt

Zanni and Barbieri will make a difference to this Italian team from the shambles that was hammered by the Argentinian second side last week, but you couldn’t back them for love nor money. Italy were awful last week, ( i mean AWFUL!) and they could have lost by much more. They have one area of advantage over Canada, the scrum, and even that was diabolical last week once the ball left out the back of it. Ok, so Italy do have a backrow advantage in Zanni, who is real class, and Canada are missing the legendary Kleeburger from the squad. This means that not only are Canada a little light in the back row, they’ll also lose out on major gate revenue from the world famous Rugby & Reard Afficionados Association of Canada, (RABAAC). Also, in a further shocking development, the planned flight charter to Toronto from my local Grizzly Adams Appreciation Society (GAAS) is now in jeopardy, with officials remaining tightlipped (presumably?) as to whether it will now go ahead as planned.

My advice is to probably give this one a miss betting-wise. Canada beat the USA, who are a good few places below them on the IRB ranking list, by only 3 points last week . If you fancy a few hours of “highlights” on this one, with some prosaic commentary, you can find it here) By all accounts the handling was sloppy and wasteful. But Canada have a pretty good coaching ticket, and in my betting wrap for last weekend, I mentioned how Italy just looked totally devoid of any decent coaching. So with home advantage, better coaches (four for Canada to Italy’s one), and more desire, Canada could cause an upset, or at least stayin the plus handicap.

If you’re really fiending for some action come 3am Saturday morning, call your local escort agency. Alternatively, wait until right before the game and see if the handicap goes out a bit further- Italy have no defence nor attack, so if you can get +10 or more on Canada, it would be worth a small wager. Canada are at home, and do have a few pros in their ranks, so they won’t be terrible. If you can find an anytime tryscorer market (none up right now, I will update), DTH Van der Merwe is your man at anything over 6/4. Venditti would be worth a punt too if you can get 2 or 3 to 1. Blind Dave Pearson is refereeing the game, and the weather is supposed to be good, but don’t back the overs whatever you do.

Canada: 15 James Pritchard, 14 Conor Trainor, 13 DTH Van der Merwe, 12 Mike Scholz, 11 Phil Mackenzie, 10 Matt Evans, 9 Sean White, 8 Aaron Carpenter, 7 Chauncey O’Toole, 6 Tyler Ardron, 5 Tyler Hotson, 4 Jebb Sinclair, 3 Jason Marshall, 2 Mike Pletch, 1 Hubert Buydens.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Tiedemann, 17 Tom Dolezel, 18 Jon Phelan, 19 Nanyak Dala, 20 Edward Fairhurst, 21 Liam Underwood, 22 Ciaran Hearn.

Italy: 15 Alberto Benettin, 14 Giovambattista Venditti, 13 Andrea Pratichetti, 12 Alberto Sgarbi, 11 Tommaso Benvenuti, 10 Kristopher Burton, 9 Tito Tebaldi, 8 Robert Barbieri, 7 Simone Favaro, 6 Alessandro Zanni, 5 Antonio Pavanello, 4 Joshua Furno, 3 Martin Castrogiovanni (c), 2 Tommaso D’Apice, 1 Michele Rizzo.
Replacements: 16 Carlo Festuccia, 17 Lorenzo Romano, 18 Marco Fuser, 19 Mauro Bergamasco, 20 Edoardo Gori, 21 Riccardo Bocchino, 22 Giulio Toniolatti.

Fiji v Scotland Betting Preview 3am Gmt

Rugby Media Coverage


Best Odds Betting/Team Win Handicap
5/1victorchandler +13 evs bet365
Scotland 1/6 bet365 -12 10/11 paddypower

Scotland really should be winning this one by 20+ points. Fiji have made 8 changes after losing narrowly to Samoa in the Nations Cup, and Scotland are off the back of a win away to Australia. Talei of Edinburgh, the FIJI captain, is making alot of noise about how this is a huge game for Fijian guys to put their hand up to European clubs, and he’s right of course. But when you think that Fiji had their first team out against Samoa, in a game they really wanted to win, they can’t be anything but disappointed.

With a starting 15 of top flight professionals, and one recognisable European based player for Fiji (Talei) and with finishers such as Hogg and Visser starting, Scotland should beat the handicap of -12 at paddypower. When anytime tryscorer markets come out, if there’s anything better than 6/4 for both Hogg and Visser, we’ll be taking it.

** updated pick- if you are indeed staying up late for this one, and want something to get you through it, over 4.5 tries at 5/6 in ladbrokes and paddypower looks a good pick. Scotland won’t be out for anything but tries, Visser and Hogg should get Scotland firing, and Fiji should get a one or couple too. Probably a better pick than the handicap albeit at a slightly lower price**

Scotland: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Max Evans, 13 Nick De Luca, 12 Scott, 11 Visser, 10 Greig Laidlaw, 9 Mike Blair, 8 John Barclay, 7 Ross Rennie, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Richie Gray, 4 Alastair Kellock, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ross Ford (c), 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Geoff Cross, 18 Tom Ryder, 19 Richie Vernon, 20 Chris Cusiter, 21 Duncan Weir, 22 Sean Lamont.

Fiji: 15 Isimeli Koniferedi, 14 Waisea Nayacalevu, 13 Wereniki Goneva, 12 Aloisio Buto, 11 Watisoni Votu, 10 Jonetai Ralulu, 9 Nikola Matawalu, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Malakai Ravulo, 6 Iliese Ratuva, 5 Leone Nakarawa, 4 Apisai Naikatini, 3 Setefano Somoca, 2 Viliame Veikoso, 1 Jeremaia Yanuyanutawa.
Replacements: 16 Tuatpati Talemaitoga, 17 Waisea Daveta/Graham Dewes, 18 Josefa Domolailai, 19 Kelepi Ketedromo, 20 Nemia Kenatale, 21 Kameli Ratuvou, 22 Metuisela Talebula.

Argentina v France Betting Preview 10.10 pm gmt

Rugby Media Coverage

Nothing official yet, likely to be streaming available from France.

Best Odds Betting/Team Win Handicap
13/8 bet365 +3 10/11 padypower
France 8/13 paddypower -3 10.11 paddypower

paddypower is the only bookie with prices up at this time, we will update when better ones appear.

Argentina have continued in a slightly experimental vein by not playing their srongest team, seemingly saving them for the Four Nations tournament later this summer. Despite having a weaker team than this out last week v Italy, they still managed to hammer Italy’s first side without Parisse. No matter how bad Italy were, this was still an achievment for alot of Argentina based players, who all seem to be seriously hungry to make up the numbers and get on this Four Nations tour. That hunger is not to be underestimated here.

The fact remains though that not much of this Pumas side is recognisable to outsiders if you look past Contepomi, Lozada (Edinburgh), Mieres (Exeter),and Tuculet who has been swithed to outside centre from full back, where he normally plays for Sale Sharks.

Saint Andre was supposed to be playing a younger side than he has put out, and he seems caught in two minds here, mixing the very old with the very new. I think it’s best to ignore the fact that he’ll learn nothing here, and just ask whether France will be motivated enough to come out and front up. I think they will. There’s far too much class in this French team to lose this game once they turn up, but with the cap at -3, and the weather due to be 35 degrees (probably a bit lower at 6 o’clock their time) there’ll be some tired bodies in the second half. I think the better bet is France to win by 1-12 points with Argentinian hunger for touring spots keeping them in touch (i’ll put the best odds up when markets are out) and the second half to have more points than the first with fatigue seting in for defences. Picamoles off the back of a scrum move should get a try- Italy had countless moves last week that went nowhere, but if Picamoles had been playing he could have scored a hatrick.  Ouedrago could be good fo a punt too, odds dependent of course. Again, i’ll update odds as they appear.

The referee is George Clancy, and many seasoned punters would argue that whatever way the market moves, back the opposite way.  That’s up to you.

Argentina: 15 Roman Miralles, 14 Belisario Agulla, 13 Joaquin Tuculet, 12 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11 Manuel Montero, 10 Ignacio Mieres, 9 Martin Landajo, 8 Tomas Leonardi, 7 Tomas De la Vega, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Esteban Lozada, 4 Benjamin Macome, 3 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, 2 Bruno Postiglioni, 1 Eusebio Guinazu.
Replacements: 16 Andres Bordoy, 17 Pablo Henn, 18 Rodrigo Bruno, 19 Rodrigo Baez, 20 Tomas Cubelli, 21 Benjamin Urdapilleta, 22 Facundo Barrea.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Jean Marcellin Buttin, 13 Wesley Fofana, 12 Florian Fritz, 11 Yoann Huget , 10 Francois Trinh Duc, 9 Morgan Parra , 8 Louis Picamoles, 7 Fulgence Ouedraogo, 6 Wenceslas Lauret, 5 Yoan Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape (c), 3 David Attoub, 2 Dimitri Szarzewski, 1 Yvan Watremez.
Replacements: 16 Christopher Tolofua, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Romain Taofifenua, 19 Alexandre Lapandry, 20 Maxime Machenaud, 21 Frederic Michalak, 22 Maxime Mermoz.