On Saturday November 19, the Ovalies UniLaSalle were present in Lille at the Pierre Mauroy stadium alongside more than 18,000 spectators during the clash of the French Barbarians against Fiji Rugby. It was the third time in their history that these two teams faced each other after Bordeaux in 1989 and Toulon in 2001, a match both won by the men of the Pacific.
At the end of this meeting, the Fijians, 12th in the current world ranking, largely imposed themselves with a victory of 46 to 14; important victory after two consecutive defeats in Scotland and Ireland. During the press conference, French coach Christian Labit and captain Maxime Machenaud said: “The important thing for the Baa-Bass is to respect the jersey regardless of the result”. A philosophy of the Barbarians who want to “serve the love of the game without sporting, economic and media pressure”.
A warm welcome in the Lille metropolis underlined by Kitione Kamikamica and his coach Vern COTTER: “It was a good preparation match despite only 5 training sessions. There were good feelings but there are still things to work on before the 2023 Rugby World Cup”.
This meeting sounded like a general rehearsal before the World Cup, an opportunity for the players to refine their game and for the site to distinguish itself by its know-how in terms of hosting major events.
For our part, this match was an opportunity to discuss behind the scenes of such an event with the technical teams present on site: commentators, media, TV production. The way to improve the organization of the Ovalies next May on Beauvais grounds.
We would like to thank Jérémy Benages, director of the Hauts de France site for the 2023 World Cup, as well as the entire Pierre Mauroy stadium team for their welcome!