1998-2002: THE OBJECTIVE IS QUALITY
20th and 21st chapters of the summary of the history of women's rugby in France, from the book "Rugger Girls"("Des Filles en Ovalie"), written by Jacques B. Corti and Yaneth Pinilla Foreword by Serge Betsen. Published weekly(ish) by French women's rugby blog Des Filles en Ovalie.
1997 marked the arrival at the head of the national team of Daniel Dupont, replacing Jacques Macou. To begin with he oversaw two training courses - a three- get together around All Saints (early November), and two days at Christmas. Then he saw his first game. It was at Villeneuve d'Ascq, against England winning 13-5. His observation: "Things cannot go on like this."
He sought solutions to the many relationship problems between the women and the FFR and attempted to develop a better structure for the French team. He began by expanding the staff with a physiotherapist, and imposing a cocktail made of high quality, passion and technique.
Two games, different in their outcomes, contributed to the overall development which is then embedded in the France team. On the occasion of the Third World Cup, the French were taken to the wire by an inexperienced Australian team in the quarter-finals 10-8, before falling to Canada - again by a tiny margin - to score in the 89th minute.
Dupont combined sporting knowledge with inter-personal relations, and his work was a major milestone for the national squad.
Daniel Dupont continues to work to negotiate and calm tensions. He pushed forward work to develop a women's international calendar. In 1998 the I|RB officially recognizes the World Cup, and it was decided that a FIRA European Championship would be held every year except the years of World Cup. Finally the Six Nations began in 1999.
But before these two elements can begin to affect in the life of women's rugby, there are still problems to resolve. In March 2000 a warning shot shakes the Fremch team. "Enough is enough, otherwise we will not continue" , threaten some girls. Deep personal disagreements, endless stories, risked derailing movemengts towards normalcy and improved development.
Daniel Dupont added Benedict Oszustowicz to form a France A squad - and the stated objective of the two technicians is to win the 2002 World Cup. They establish among other things, video analysis. "It was a big change so we combined with a written document."
Daniel was also far from quiet in other area. On 7th April he was interviewed in Le Monde. He announced his plans and spoke about the positive work taking place in most clubs. But he also empty his feelings makes waves: "We have to spend so much time convincing everyone, particularly within the Federation. And it is wearing." He also says that he and the girls distressed about constantly having to justify why they exist: "We cannot achieve perfection, if no-one will make a case for us."
Extract from the book "Des Filles en Ovalie", Editions Atlantica (2005), Written by Jacques B. Corti / Yaneth Pinilla Foreword by Serge Betsen.