Les Bleus have a secret weapon for RWC

When Les Bleus were crushed by the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup’s pool stages, churchgoers in France’s rugby heartland got out their heavy artillery. They prayed to St Jude, the patron saint of lost causes.

When things got worse after the rout by Tonga, the faithful took out their weapon of last resort: they invoked St Rita, the patron saint of impossible causes.

And they have Mary on their side too, Notre Dame du Rugby.  If the oval ball has a home of the soul, it is Our Lady of Rugby, a tiny chapel near the village of Larriviere-St-Savin, a shrine to rugby as an example of the Christian spirit, it has a stained-glass window where the Virgin Mary gazes beatifically at a scrum at her feet.

Another window features Baby Jesus poised to throw a ball to a lineout. Each of the players in the lineout is wearing a different coloured jersey, to show rugby as a unifier of men.
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News category: New Zealand.

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