DANS LA MELEE DES BLEUS (5/10) – Coupe du monde 2003
Jean-Michel Rascol, the editor-in-chief of the sports department and a renowned rugby commentator on RTL, is truly one of a kind: he is the only French journalist to have covered every World Cup since its inception in 1987. Over the course of ten days, he shares incredible anecdotes and vividly revisits the nine previous editions of this historic event, providing both avid fans and newcomers with a delightful experience. « Rascol inside » is a treat for all.
In 2003, Bernard Laporte was the coach and, among the journalists, some had more access to the French team than others, but I won’t say any more. There were five of them (other journalists nicknamed them the « Fifth column »), and these people were closest to the French team, they had privileged access. But fortunately, the press officer, Lionel Rossigneux, made sure that everything went well.
I remember that this World Cup takes place in the sun until the France-England semi-final. Suddenly, everything changes. It’s pouring rain, even though the French team had mentally prepared to play on a hard field. They feel like they can’t win in the rain. This negative feeling spreads a few hours before the match and erodes their confidence. It had a significant impact because they didn’t expect this. Well, the match is lost (7-24), Wilkinson scores drop goals, but there is truly a shift with the weather.
La férocité de la presse
Auparavant, tout le monde habitait à Bondi Beach, on mangeait du bar mundi (poisson), c’était assez paradisiaque, y compris pour les joueurs. C’était l’Australie sous ses plus belles formes.
In 2003, there is mainly Fred Michalak, who is a young player at the time. Before the semi-final, he finds himself at a press conference with 200 Anglo-Saxon journalists on his back, where he has to justify being as good as Wilkison. The press bombards him with comparisons, I think it contributed to destabilizing him. It is often said that the French press is a bit fierce, but it is nothing compared to the Anglo-Saxons. The dogs had pounced on Michalak.