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Rugby World Cup: Emmanuel Macron dreams of a “World Cup effect”

The poster is beautiful. Almost intimidating. But, Emmanuel Macron is certain, the match will be a spectacle and victory, possible. It’s the ” duty “ of the French team, reminds the Head of State, than to make the country dream, Friday September 8, by facing New Zealand for the first match of the Rugby World Cup which is taking place in France.

An injunction launched four days earlier during the passage of the tenant of the Elysée in Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts-de-Seine), where the XV of France trains. “You are the greatest team. (…) It’s your jobhe says like a coach holding the Blues in his arms. It will start strong right away. No room for economy. You have to give everything. » Then he presses: “It is because you will be brothers in arms that you will fight from the first to the last second. that you will win. »

Emmanuel Macron loves sport and its values. Fan of Pat Cash, the Australian tennis player, whose checkered headband he wore in his youth, supporter of the Olympique de Marseille, the President of the Republic is familiar with Kylian Mbappé, the star of Paris Saint-Germain, and confides to The Teamin an interview published on September 7, always have ” follow up “ rugby, if not practicing it.

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“I was too little to be fully aware of it, but I grew up remembering Aguirre, Gachassin and company », he confides. As a child, the president spent his summers in Bagnères-de-Bigorre (Hautes-Pyrénées), stronghold of the two legendary players. He was 2 years old when Jean-Michel Aguirre lost in the final of the French championship and could not yet speak when Jean Gachassin ended his sports career in 1978.

“Unifying element”

In the presidential stand of the Stade de France on Friday, before flying to India, where a G20 summit is being held, the tenant of the Elysée intends to harvest a little of the magic which, he thinks, could emerge from the lawn. With the Olympic Games taking place in Paris in the summer of 2024, the event will be a “a way of projecting the country towards unprecedented pride”he pointed out to his ministers on July 21. “Sport unites behind the jersey, the anthem and the flag. It is a unifying element in terms of national cohesion. (…) It’s good for the country », he approves in The Team.

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“Politicians continue to run behind the effect of the 1998 Football World Cup and its “black, white, Arab” team”, observes Patrick Mignon, sociologist, former researcher at the National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance. Twenty-five years ago, the victory of the Blues against Brazil, 3-0, allowed President Jacques Chirac, who knew nothing about the world of football, to spectacularly improve his popularity rating.

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