Rugby Union

Bastareaud took over the captaincy late on in the game .

Mathieu Bastareaud's angry rant to France team-mates after Fiji loss was recorded by mics

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For all the drama of the last Autumn internationals, France's shock slip-up against Fiji has gone under the radar somewhat.

World Cup contenders New Zealand and Ireland both rounded the year off nicely with comfortable wins against Italy and the USA respectively.

England and Wales also look in decent shape ahead of the Six Nations, with Scotland appearing less well-tuned despite victory over Argentina.

As for France, however, they slipped to a first ever defeat to Fiji, a result coach John McKee suggested had elevated his side into "the pantheon of Fijian rugby".

The Pacific Islanders left Paris very happy after a surprise 21-14 triumph.

Their secret? All the backs who scored ply their trade in France; they had Bordeaux-Begles’ Semi Radradra and Toulon’s Josua Tuisova to thank for their tries, while Racing92’s Benjamin Volavola also starred with a conversion and three penalties.

Fiji, of course, deserve plenty of credit but the spotlight will naturally fall on their error-prone hosts, who have now lost eight of their last 11.

If anything, it could have been worse as the referee ruled out a handful of points that worked out in Les Bleus' favour.

Jacques Brunel tried to reinvigorate his players by bringing on young blood, but to no avail.

Bastareaud was raging 

The ever-colourful Mathieu Bastareaud was given the armband for the final stages after usual skipper Guilhem Guirado was brought off, replaced by 23-year-old Julien Marchand on 68 minutes.

Left in charge of the troops, Bastareaud was furious with how the game panned out and his team-mates were under no illusions at the end.

Microphones picked up the 19-stone centre's team-talk and it's fair to say he was not a happy man.

Here is the sanitised version, via ruck.co.uk:

“Who do we think we are? We beat Argentina and we think we’re something special.

"We have to start from scratch now and we’re at rock bottom. Because we’re pathetic, shameful, we have to be aware of that.”

The French version contained quite a few more expletives.

Of course, there's an argument that Bastareaud was lucky to be playing at all as he was in danger of missing all of France's November internationals.

Brunel admitted there were no positives to take for France

Back in September, the 30-year-old was banned for his assault on Castres' Christophe Samson in a Top-14 game.

It was feared he would be suspended for several months, but he eventually got off relatively lightly being ruled out for just five weeks.

His hot-headed side was on display again on Saturday, albeit in less violent fashion.

This was not even his first hiatus of the year - the Toulon star also missed the start of the Six Nations after being given a ban for using homophobic language.

The inquest will now begin as to what exactly went wrong for France.

Perhaps Bastareaud is right - they will indeed be starting from scratch when they return in February. 

What do you make of France's performances going into a World Cup year? Have your say in the comments. 

Topics:
France Rugby
Rugby Union
Mathieu Bastareaud

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