French want to wear bleu, not blanc
THE French team manager's decision to allow the All Blacks to wear their traditional colours in Sunday's Rugby World Cup final has not gone down well with Marc Lievremont's "spoilt brats".
Jo Maso made the decision prior to the toss to allow the host team to wear its preferred black jersey to respect the welcome they had received from the country, "the faultless organisation of the tournament, and the honour and pleasure of playing the 2011 Rugby World Cup final in the legendary stadium of Eden Park".
However, second rower Lionel Nallet and winger Aurélien Rougerie both regret the decision to give up Les Bleus' traditional colour.
"People say 'allez les Bleus' and not 'allez les Blanc'. But either way, white or blue, we will have to get our jersey dirty," Rougerie says.
"We are leaving the black jersey to the All Blacks because they are the All Blacks. But for us, our jersey is blue. We won the toss and I would have preferred if we had kept [blue]," Nallet added.
Earlier in the week Lievremont blasted his players for celebrating their win over Wales with a night out, saying they were "undisciplined spoilt brats, disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining." He said whatever the shirt colour, at the end of the day it would still be France against the All Blacks.
"I'm sure some of my players regret the decision. They would have no doubt have liked to deprive (the All Blacks) of their favorite colour. It doesn't matter if we play in blue or white, it's just a matter of detail. We could be playing in pink and then in purple."
Following the semi-final win over Australia, All Blacks coach Graham Henry thanked Maso for the kind "gesture".
"We' re the All Blacks, we're playing at home and we wear black, so it's an obvious one. But I do thank him," he said.
Historically, colour-clashing has never been an issue between the two sides. But France's kit suppliers Nike developed a darker blue jersey for the 2007 World Cup campaign, which caused problems ahead of the quarter-final clash against the All Blacks in Cardiff. France won the toss, the All Blacks played in an unfamiliar grey number, and the French claimed a historic 20-18 upset.