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David Robbins: Forget rugby, we are in a fight for euro dominance

To most of the 55,000 or so spectators at Lansdowne Road tomorrow, the match between Ireland and France, it will be simply that: a rugby match.

Okay, an important rugby match. A Six Nations game in a World Cup year. A home fixture against the French. A chance to beat them and avenge decades of defeats.

But to those of us gifted with an ability to see the bigger, pan-European picture, it is much more than that. It is nothing less than a political, proto-military and socio-economic struggle for the future of the European project.

Oh yes, let the rugby correspondents count the number of passes completed, the tackles missed and the tries scored.

Let the fans cheer at line-breaks, big hits and booming touch-finders. Let the alickadoos swig from their hip flasks and opine that Jackie Kyle would beat them all into a cocked hat.

But deep thinkers like myself know what's really going on. And it's not pretty. I don't want to be alarmist, but it involves the dreaded military-industrial complex as well.

Take the fact that French clubs have been trying to seduce our best players for years. With devious cunning, they offered better pay, better weather, better food and a better lifestyle. Despicable!

Why, only a week or so ago, Jonathon Sexton and Jamie Heaslip were snatched from the jaws of cash-rich bidders from France.

I don't like to appear boastful, but only a last-minute intervention by myself (I offered to top up the IRFU's offer by €10 a month -- each, mind) prevented a victory for the damned Frenchies.

Then there's their wine, their fancy restaurants, their croissants and their art-house films. And they have the cheek to blame America for its cultural imperialism. Sort yourselves out first, Jacques, I say!

Not to mention the thousands of French rugby "fans" (read spies) strolling around our capital city completely unsupervised right now.

Several will bring cockerels with them. The cockerel is the symbol of France, and they like to release one or two along the touchline during away matches.

Some see this as a sweet, lovable expression of patriotism. I have it on good authority that it is nothing less than a plot to weaken the breeding strength of the Irish poultry industry, and that is has been approved at the highest levels of the Sûreté.

Now, let us switch focus to the political arena. Tell me, did it not seem strange to you that only French cuisine was served at the recent summit of EU leaders in Brussels?

And were you aware that there is a strong link between rugby and politics in France? (French president Nicholas Sarkozy looks suspiciously like a scrum-half to me.)

At that summit, the Sarkozy, fortified no doubt by French wine and Vichyssoise or some other degenerate French muck, launched a vicious attack on our own dear Taoiseach, who was minding his own business lurrying down his meat and two veg.

The exchange was described by a diplomat present (and this bit is actually true) as "a bloodbath" as Sarkozy lambasted Cowen over Ireland's low corporate tax rate.

Aha! You see! The penny drops. Sport, how are ye. Tomorrow is not about the Six Nations, or the Grand Slam or any of that sporting rubbish. It's about money and power.

Carl von Clausewitz said war was politics by other means. Orwell said sport was "war without the shooting". Now, do you still think that tomorrow's match is just about rugby?

I have tried to explain to my French in-laws my belief that rugby is just another weapon in the French armoury as they gear up for European domination. They listen politely, making strange finger-circling gestures beside their temples.

After much consideration, I have come to the conclusion that there is only one way to halt this dastardly conspiracy in its tracks. We'll just have to beat them. Come on Ireland!

drobbins@independent.ie

Indo Review