IRFU rejects French officials' claims of poor treatment at Aviva Stadium

The IRFU has expressed surprise at reports that their counterparts in the French union had been left fuming by last Saturday’s post-match function at the Aviva Stadium, writes Brendan O’Brien.

The ‘Midi Olympique’ newspaper claimed that the traditional get together was a “fiasco” and that the French delegation had been seated in a large room filled with 500 ‘ordinary’ guests while the Irish committee convened in a separate, presidential suite after the Six Nations meeting of the nations.

Christian Dullin, secretary general of the French Rugby Federation, was quoted as saying: “It’s like us hosting other unions at the snack bars under the stands at the Stade de France.”

IRFU spokesman Stephen McNamara pointed out that, while there is a separate room adjacent to the area used for the reception at the Aviva Stadium, it is one used by the Irish president, the president of the Irish union, his counterpart with the visiting team and all junior vice-presidents. “It’s a VIP room,” he explained, “so if we have royalty at a game they go in there for a cup of coffee but everybody else, all of our committee, all of our sponsors, go up to that drinks reception room.”

McNamara added that procedures used at the weekend were the same as those employed in 2015 when the French last visited Dublin and for every other international rugby match at the venue in recent years.

He also stated that the IRFU was happy with their decision not to utilise a logo on the Ireland jerseys promoting their bid for the 2023 World Cup, unlike the French who are also bidding to host the event and who sported a ‘France 2023’ message on their chests.

“No, we considered that for the November games but we decided not to do it and we decided not to do it for the Six Nations. We wanted to respect the fact that we started our games away and we were always going to activate (other bid messages) in the stadium.”

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