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Willie John McBride - The France-Ireland Game Was 'Disgraceful' And 'Disgusting'

Willie John McBride - The France-Ireland Game Was 'Disgraceful' And 'Disgusting'
By Conor Neville Updated

The great Willie John McBride - Irish rugby royalty and the star of at least 7,000 pre-Lions tour Sky Sports montages - labelled the French 'a disgrace' on today's edition of the Racket.

In common with many other observers, he was disgusted by France's malevolently aggressive approach to the game.

I think it was appalling,  the dirt and filth in the game. They obviously went out and targeted Sexton and got him... I think it's disgraceful, absolutely disgraceful. And this guy is laughing to himself because he got away with it. It certainly was intentional. Not only that but they targeted others. If anybody sat down and really examined that tape. It was disgraceful some of the things that happened.

On Saturday, some Irish fans keened for the days of the Claw and Trevor Brennan and Willie John himself. Why had no one exacted some extra-legal retribution on Maestri there and then.

These comments echoed those of Ronan O'Gara after Ireland's loss to Australia in a November test in 2013 when he lamented that no one taken Tevita Kuridrani's 'head off' after a nasty blow on Peter O'Mahony.

Willie, as every self-respecting historian of the oval ball game knows, was responsible for issuing the famous '99' call on the Invincibles tour of South Africa in 1974 - an ingenious strategy whereby every man in a Lions shirt turned and clattered the nearest Springbok. Back when rugby violence was knockabout rather than sinister and concussion sounded like something you sat on.

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The game is different now, though. He doesn't endorse such tactics these days.

They only thing you can do is take it into your own hands and that's not the game... I don't think that's the answer. It's the rugby authorities and the people in charge of the game that have to do something about that.

The Rugby Union hasn't done anything about it. One guy got a warning but I think if anybody sits down and looks at that tape, the amount of foul play was really disgusting. They haven't dealt with it at all. But I find it absolutely staggering that there are so many people involved now in looking at the game and they miss so much it's unbelievable.

His prognosis is gloomy for the remainder of the Six Nations, not least because of Ireland's apocalyptic injury crisis, and he believes England in Twickenham will now be a tough ask.

We don't have the strength in depth of England have, or Wales, or nearly even Scotland at the moment. It's going to be a tough finish to the season. But having said that, we've been in these situations before and we've had the most unlikely guys stand up.

With additional reporting by Gavin Cooney

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Read more: Why Ireland May Be Partly To Blame For France's Treatment Of Johnny Sexton

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