Thursday 21 September 2017

'We're baffled' - IRFU to seek clarification after leading FFR figure describes post-match reception as a 'fiasco'

The IRFU have responded to extraordinary claims in the French media. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

The IRFU have described remarks made by FFR secretary general criticising the post-match reception at the Aviva Stadium as 'very disappointing'.

Christian Dullin is quoted in today's edition of Midi Olimpique claiming that the delegation from the French union were kept apart from their IRFU counterparts during the Captain's Dinner following Ireland's 19-9 victory on Saturday.

He said: "It's like us hosting other Unions at the snack bars under the stands at the Stade de France.

"I spoke to my Irish counterpart. Apparently, this was the first time they had implemented such a protocol."

IRFU Director of Communications Stephen McNamara told Independent.ie there was no division of the Irish and French committees and that the post-match reception was ran in exactly the same manner as previous Six Nations encounters.

He went on to say that there was a four-course committee dinner on Friday night and a four-course lunch before the game took place.

Committee members did mingle with members of the public, including 10-year ticket holders, sponsors and volunteers, for an hour in a premium level bar after the game while the Presidential Suite was prepared for the Captain's Dinner.

On the idea that the committees were separated, McNamara said: "We would not tolerate that kind of thing."

He confirmed that no one from the IRFU was approached on the night and that the same structure for the post-match reception would be in place when England visit in a fortnight's time.

The IRFU are expected to follow up on the reports with their French counterparts.

Under the headline 'The French Rejected' in Midi Olimpique, Emmanuel Massicard writes: "The beautiful Franco-Irish friendship seems to have run its course.

"Saturday night, the post-match reception turned to a fiasco in the President Suite of the Aviva Stadium. The (French) delegation was relegated to a crowded room of 500 people glued to bars while the Irish were installed in the presidential box."

He added: "Bernard Laporte had to wait for the banquet to meet his counterpart Stephen Hilditch for a few moments, after remaining alone at his table without any other French leader to accompany him. (He was also left alone in the rain which showered the grandstand)."

Ireland and France are going head to head to see who hosts the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and Massicard took aim at our ability to host the tournament.

"The French candidacy has nothing to envy to that of Ireland. The reception of our stadiums knows how to live up to the event, it does not rain in our official grandstand, and the airports of Paris do not saturate when the first match of the tournament comes. This is Dublin!"

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