So the French gubbed us on Sunday - they played well, we didn't. But rather dwell on the aspects of defeat, I want to reflect on the French approach to the game, and one player in particular.
The French had clearly decided to rely on power rather than flair, pace and panache - no criticism there. They fielded a team of big lumps, and they executed their tactics with aplomb (mainly). They destroyed the Scottish scrum throughout the match, pushing it all over the park, buckling it as they saw fit. They picked some monsters in their back line as well, including the 18-stone centre Mathieu Bastareaud - he was 4 stones heavier than his opposite number. I know how that feels (I was only 9 stones when I played most of my (limited) rugby, so I was always outmuscled and thrown about like a ragdoll.) But I digress...
I don't want to talk about Bastareaud - I might get nightmares! I want to talk about Aurélien Rougerie. He's a wee fellow - just 16 stones, and 6 feet 4 inches - who plays at winger (which was my position!) Anyway, Rougerie had a remarkable game, his tackle count was unblemished, and unimpressive:
Tackles missed - 0
Tackles made - 2
Minutes played - 4
Aye, he lasted 4 minutes. Within the first minute or so, he flung himself into a tackle at full tilt - he was clearly committed to executing the tactics of the power game. It was a shuddering tackle, which sent his opponent backwards to the turf. But Rougerie came off worst by injuring himself. He got back into the game, but clearly hadn't recovered properly. Then he hurtled into another tackle - this time he didn't recover and had to be replaced.
What do we learn from this?
Well, experience should have taught Rougerie something!
But in any endeavour, while it's important to start well, it's also important to pace yourself so that you can finish well. Sustaining our effort may mean holding back a bit at the outset, but it's a discipline that's worth learning.
I hope Rougerie recovers from his injury quickly - and that he maybe takes some time to reflect on this experience.