Sunday 17 December 2017

'French bashing is usual in UK media' - French website hits back at 'shameful' Johnny Sexton treatment

Johnny Sexton battered and bruised against France
Johnny Sexton battered and bruised against France
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

A French website has hit back at UK coverage which described the 'shameful' targeting of Johnny Sexton at the weekend and suggests they are building tension before the Six Nations rivals clash next month.

Both England and France still harbour championship and indeed Grand Slam ambitions after victories in both rounds of the competition and the meeting of the two countries on the final day at the Stade de France already has the feeling of a title decider.

Guy Noves' side edged past Joe Schmidt's Ireland by the bare minimum at the weekend, though the game was marred by what the Ireland head coach described as "cheap shots", with former Racing Metro player Sexton on the receiving end yet again.

The Leinster number 10 departed from the field of play with 11 minutes remaining after receiving a number of late challenges throughout the contest.

French second row Yoann Maestri inexplicably escaped with only a penalty concession after a deliberate late body check right in front of referee Jaco Peyper.

Yesterday The Daily Telegraph was scathing of the physical treatment the out-half was subjected to and said it has become a reoccurring them against Les Bleus.

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In an article entitled 'France's brutal targeting of Jonathan Sexton was disgraceful', Daniel Schofield a wrote that "France have crossed a line with its approach to Sexton which should shame everyone involved in its conception and execution."

Popular French rugby site RugbyRama has addressed those claims and journalist Fabien Pomiès suggested the English press is building up the tension between the two rivals.

A 'French bashing' is usual in the UK during the Six Nations", he writes.

"Once again, the British press was true to its reputation."

Pomiès concluded that rather than commenting on the discipline of the French, they might be best served to examine the chequered career of England captain Dylan Hartley.

Eddie Jones handed the Northampton hooker the skipper's armband despite a lengthy list of disciplinary issues and the writer believes mind games are at play ahead of  game referred to as 'Le Crunch' on the final day.

"Thank you for the lesson.," he added.

"As often during the tournament, the English have therefore already launched 'Le Crunch before the hour, with methods of their own. Maybe he should remind them the size of the disciplinary record of their captain, Dylan Hartley, far from being a saint."

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