With the health crisis lingering, the economy wobbling and the national mood darkening, President Macron knows that the French need persuading that better times lie ahead.
With this in mind, his speech at the 2023 Rugby World Cup draw in Paris yesterday was not so much a celebration of the sport as a plea with Antoine Dupont and the other French players to win the competition.
“We have to bring the cup home,” he told the team members in the audience for the draw. “Make sure you do it.”
The president appears to be hoping that the rugby team can do in 2023 what Zinédine Zidane and his football team-mates did in 1998 by uniting a fractious nation behind a first World Cup triumph on