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Arsene Wenger Has Given His 'Verdict' On The Irish Rugby Team

Arsene Wenger Has Given His 'Verdict' On The Irish Rugby Team
By Conor Neville Updated

Arsene Wenger has been summoned to give a little pep talk to the French rugby team in the dump (their opinion, not mine) that is Croydon.

Being a patriotic sort, he quite naturally obliged. He returned the favour and invited the French players to the Arsenal training ground in London Colney.

Rugby, he says, has usurped basketball as his second favourite sport.

I love rugby. Before, it was basketball. I played basketball so I know it a bit better but I like in rugby that kind of true solidarity. If you want to play, you have first to be together. The very essence of collective sport can be found in rugby. In rugby, without solidarity you have no chance. They have solidarity and courage, I admire the fact that men are ready to go into combat together, put their trust in each other.

He defended professional footballers against allegations of 'softness', an allegation that is usually tossed at footballers by folk who have just switched over from the rugby.

Wenger pointed out that it is actually quite painful to be kicked in the ankle, a point that armchair fans usually give little thought to. 'There are a lot of kicks that hurt. It is not that they are soft, it is different pains,' he said.

As for this year's Rugby World Cup, Wenger is adamant that France need to top their pool. But he foresees difficulties in the group. Perk your ears up here now, people.

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They have to finish first in the group because they play Ireland and Ireland for me is a very good team.

There you are now. Wenger thinks our rugby team are the business. 'Foreigner says Ireland is great' is your favourite kind of story (you can protest all you like, but the stats don't lie).

Admittedly, his analysis of the Irish team (they're 'a very good team') didn't quite approach Murray Kinsella levels of thoroughness, but it is an indisputably correct assessment nonetheless.

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I haven't felt this proud since that mechanic from Essex saw hurling once on Sky and tweeted that the Irish were all mad.

Read more: Has George Hook Taken A Dig A TV3's Rugby Coverage On Twitter?

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