An expert on French rugby has called on French clubs to place greater importance on scoring tries this season.
Writing for The Independent, ESPN commentator Martin Gillingham pointed out that a team's league position and their kicker's statistics currently show a strong correlation, as many sides have realised they can win games without needing to dot down.
Toulouse currently sit top of the French league, ahead of Perpignan and Castres, but their form has been based around a pragmatic approach. Castres had previously led the competition and the recent end to a winning streak coincided with them scoring their first try in five weeks.
"Their experience - and, to a lesser extent, Perpignan's as well - suggests that this season's blueprint for success places only so much emphasis on actually crossing the whitewash. Even so, and on behalf of those who adore traditional French virtues, can we have some more tries?" asked Mr Gillingham.
He suggested that this style of play may not be quite so enjoyable for fans sitting in the stands in rugby jackets, particularly since France has developed a reputation for free-flowing attacking flair over the years. However, this approach does produce results.
When England won the Rugby World Cup in 2003 it had more to do with Jonny Wilkinson's kicking ability than the team's try-scoring prowess and The Telegraph recently reported that Wilkinson was unhappy with the Gilbert balls used at this year's World Cup in New Zealand.
He claimed that he was producing the same kick in training as he was during the competition, yet the match balls were veering to the right. His under-par performance was a factor in England's quarter-final exit.
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