It had been 12 years of waiting but France were once again crowned top dogs in the Guinness Six Nations on Saturday evening in Paris with a spectacular Grand Slam.
Les Bleus trailed for a total of just 13 minutes across the entire Championship, clinching the crown in style with a 25-13 victory over England at the Stade de France.
And as the dust settled and the last notes of Freed from Desire died down in the stadium, the world’s media had their say on where this French side stacks up with the champions of yesteryear.
It was not just the media. L’Équipe got the 2010 Grand Slam champions to talk through their successors in the current team. And perhaps the standout comment came from Yannick Jauzion about Gaël Fickou, tipping the centre to break every French record after winning his 70th cap while still just 27.
Thierry Dusautoir captained that team in 2010, and already believes that this team has surpassed his own generation. While that side went on to reach the 2011 World Cup final, he believes that this France team is perhaps the first to have built up to Grand Slam success as part of a long-term project:
In the Guardian, Andy Bull reflected on how this French team had brought the entire country together, this Slam a culmination of years of hard work:
For the Telegraph’s Charlie Morgan, this game was a chance to see two former age-group rivals, Romain Ntamack and Marcus Smith, go head-to-head in the fly-half battle. And it was Ntamack’s ability to influence the game with subtle touches that stood out:
Sir Clive Woodward, a Grand Slam champion as a coach back in 2003, believes that France and Ireland have shown themselves to be a cut above the rest this season in the Daily Mail:
There was a similar feeling in Ireland where Gerry Thornley felt that Andy Farrell’s team could take a lot out of their second-place finish, with the top two clearly the sides on the biggest upward trajectory: