Handball behind us


LONDON, January 28 – There will be no fallout when France host Six Nations titleholders Ireland despite their footballing counterparts' notorious World Cup clash, French coach Marc Lievremont said Wednesday.
The 41-year-old former France international flanker said the storm caused by Thierry Henry’s infamous handball, which set up William Gallas’s crucial goal in the World Cup play-off last November, will not be an issue when the French take on Ireland at the same Stade de France venue on February 13.

"Of course the Irish team (the football one) were entitled to be angry and as a nation as well," said Lievremont.

"They deserved fairer treatment. However, football is not the same sport as rugby union. Football does not share the same qualities or values as rugby."

Indeed Lievremont, who is seeking his first Six Nations title success in his third campaign, was left singularly unimpressed by the whole match which put France in the 2010 World Cup finals and broke Irish hearts.

"I along with the France rugby squad and the Samoans (who they played later that week at the Stade de France) sat in the stands watching," he said at Wednesday’s Six Nations launch.

"I have to say that all of us to a man – and I speak for the Samoans as well – were extremely bored and just wanted it to finish."

France kick-off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland in Edinburgh on February 7.