The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Bird Flu hits French kit

Bird Flu hits
Victim of Bird Flu

Posted March 7th, 2006

The French rugby team will be forced to play their upcoming fixture against England wearing either a new kit or bare backed. Nine of the French jerseys used in the game against Italy have since been diagnosed as carrying the H5N1 strain of bird flu. The famous French cockerel, which is the motif of the jerseys, is the cause of the problem.

Remarkable scenes at the Stade de France yesterday saw the French Rugby Federation burning the entire set of French jerseys due to be used this weekend as a health and safety precaution. The FFR have promised to examine all of the playing kits and equipment currently used by French representative squads.

Nike, who manufacture the French kit, have yet to confirm if they will be able to produce a replacement kit in time for the clash. This could lead to the French team having to play the game bare-backed, or in ‘skins’ as is commonly known.

If this turns out to be the case, England will probably adopt a ‘slap’ tackle technique. The ‘slap’ defence, generally only used in pre-season amateur training, involves whacking the attacker with an open palm on the back until he squeals like a big girl and drops the ball.

The English coaching management refused to be drawn on the matter when contacted by The East Terrace, although distinct slapping sounds could be heard coming from the English squad session held hours after the bird flu news broke.

The rugby authorities are kindly requesting that French fans do not attend the game in replica jerseys bearing the cockerel motif. Contamination units will be on hand at the stadium before and during the game on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Welsh Rugby Union has been ordered by the IRB to investigate whether their three feathers motif has a clean bill of health. The Prince of Wales feathers, from which the Welsh motif originates, is itself based on ostrich feathers.

Worries over the contamination of this motif could lead to the Wales v France clash later this month being an all ‘skins’ affair. Both sets of front row forwards are keen to hear a decision on this matter as soon as is possible.