Coupe du monde de rugby 2023 : Marseille, fada de rugby, s’acoquine avec le ballon ovale

The city of Marseille is hosting several matches during this World Cup. And no one is complaining. On the contrary. Report.

Marseille is no longer just a football city and the Vélodrome is not only the theater of dreams for OM. The Bonne Mère now vibrates in front of a closed scrum and the sidewalks of Boulevard Michelet regularly abandon Jul’s rap for the chants of Pena Baiona. It’s not just the World Cup effect. With the Top 14 and the Champions Cup, the locals have learned to manage this new audience.

At « Petit plat, » a brewery located 200 meters from the stadium, it’s game day. In the kitchen, at the bar, or on the terrace, everyone is busy. Tonight, it will be bright. In the meantime, work needs to be done: « With a smile, » insists Bob, one of the establishment’s staff members. It has nothing to do with football. Rugby fans, on the other hand, mix in. An unusual idea in normal times when the Olympique team is present.

The benevolent attitude and cohabitation also go hand in hand with purchasing power. For the arrival of the English and Argentinians on Saturday (read below), the boss has set aside over 100 beer barrels. That’s 3,000 liters. At 8 euros per pint (1/2 liter), do the math, it’s nothing like the soccer fans who sometimes venture into a more anise-flavored and cheaper drink (2 euros per glass).

Cocaïne ou demis

On the other side of the avenue, in the shade of the plane trees, in the « ciel et blanc » supporters’ shop, the manager also senses the difference. The words are more flowery, perhaps a bit exaggerated: « What do you want, on one side there are guys who take cocaine, on the other they drink half pints… Look no further. »

Dressed in a tricolor jersey, Bernard, a resident of the Vélodrome, came to enjoy the atmosphere. He doesn’t have a ticket. He just wants to commune. Like other residents of Marseille, he remembers the Euro 2016 when hordes of English and Russian hooligans clashed on the Old Port. « We were all a little scared this morning. But look around you… » The two sides are facing off with full force. The Falklands War (1982) has left its mark between the English and the Argentinians. And Maradona’s Hand of God did nothing to help the situation.

Le puma et la rose

Mais ce soir, personne n’y pense. Le puma s’acoquine avec la rose. On s’échange les meilleurs spots de tireuses à bière, le plus sûr moyen pour rallier la Canebière ou la plage du Prado… Pas de parcage, pas de filet au-dessus des têtes pour éviter les fumigènes ou les bouteilles remplies d’urine. « Franchement, quelle ambiance, témoignent Michaël et son fils Brandon. Ça n’a rien à voir avec l’OM bien sûr, mais c’est de mieux en mieux à chaque fois qu’un match de rugby est organisé ici. »

The father interrupts and delivers his own punchline: « What disgusts me is these hoteliers who have multiplied the room prices by 10. It’s a shame. »
A group of English people are asking for directions. Argentinians are looking for seats. Michaël can’t help them. However, he is willing to make a prediction: « This year, OM will be the champion ahead of Monaco and Paris. Where do I sign? » England-Argentina can wait.

On Sunday at 5:45 PM at the Vélodrome, there will be a match between South Africa and Scotland.

Comments are closed.