France considering playing Test in Japan

French rugby chiefs will discuss on Thursday whether France will play Japan in a one-off test on July 12 on their way back from Australia to celebrate 150 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.


Former France coach and now sports minister Bernard Laporte said when he paid a visit to Japan at the end of November that it would be nice to organise a sporting event in either judo or rugby to fete the landmark.


Laporte had thought of his former club Stade Francais playing a Japanese side as they would be in the country around that time preparing for the 2008/09 season, but a French Federation director said it could well be a test match.


“There has been an official request that the French team stops by on its return from Australia (they play two tests against the Wallabies on June 28 and July 5),” said Jean Dunyach.


“This matter will be dealt with on Thursday at the board’s meeting.”

 

However, the match if it gets the go-ahead is sure to be opposed by the players union, Provale.

“This match will bring to an end a season that will have already lasted 54 weeks for the international players,” Sylvain Deroeux, president of Provale, told AFP.


“I have sent a letter demanding a meeting with the Minister of Health, Roselyne Bachelot, because I don’t see how one can tackle doping if we have 53-54 weeks in a season.”

 

The players who formed the France squad for the World Cup – where they finished fourth – began their preparations for the global showpiece on July 1 last year.

Sapa-AFP Rugbyweek.com

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