Sports minister gave French their panache – so what would McCully give the All Blacks?

When it comes to Ministers of Sport, we are at a disadvantage.

So far as Alf can tell, morale is high in the All Black camp a day ahead of the big match with Australia.

Just as well.

If we needed to bring in a political prop to help our team, we would be at a disadvantage.

According to the Herald, when French morale was low, the country flew in its Sports Minister from Paris to rally the Rugby World Cup squad to a quarter-final victory – and he is back again today.

The French Ambassador to New Zealand, Francis Etienne, said the country had followed “good tradition” to call on its leader in times of trouble.

After France’s shock loss to Tonga in its final pool match, Sports Minister David Douillet – a three-time judo world champion – was called on for support.

“We were in shock. We were wondering about the guys, and in good tradition, when you’re in trouble, you call the leader,” Mr Etienne said.

“We asked and he came. It’s been so impressive that he’s now coming back. In 10 days he’s been between Paris-New Zealand, New Zealand-Paris, Paris-New Zealand, three in a row.”

Douillet is widely regarded as one of France’s best-ever athletes, according to the ambassador, and his words carry a lot of weight.

Moreover he is tall and very big, so when he speaks, he has natural authority.

“What I witnessed from the players is they really listened.

“It’s good to have a leader really showing an example and personally committed to coming for that purpose.”

After the minister’s rallying call, France turned in its best performance in the tournament to beat England 19-12.

So what would we do if we needed a morale-booster?

Bring in Murray McCully for the natural authority he commands?

If that were to happen, Alf would be putting his money on whoever the All Blacks were playing against, including Ukraine.

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