France’s World Cup preparations hit an unlikely speed bump in the shape of a Croydon wedding party.
Giant prop Uini Atonio has revealed how a rowdy set of wedding guests spoiled his first night’s sleep in France’s south London hotel.
World Cup history is full of tall tales of demented fans attempting to ruin rivals’ preparations by spoiling sleep patterns, and Atonio’s wedding blues only add to that tradition.
Uini Atonio in action against Australia in 2014.
“I did not really sleep well,” said Atonio of Saturday night.
“There was a wedding in the reception area just under my room, and they were quite noisy.
“At around two in the morning, when I still could not sleep, I had to put my headphones on.
“We might have to change hotel!”
Les Bleus will open their Pool D campaign by facing Italy at Twickenham on Saturday night.
Philippe Saint-Andre’s men will be favourites to see off the Azzurri, who will be without talisman and captain Sergio Parisse.
The Stade Francais number eight has failed to recover in time after having a haematoma on his left calf drained.
France will be expected to battle it out with double RBS 6 Nations champions Ireland for top spot in Pool D, so will be seeking a fast start against the Italians.
Canada and Romania will be hard-pressed to keep pace with the other contenders in the pool.
France captain Thierry Dusautoir allayed any fears surrounding his bandaged left hand, the 33-year-old itching to get into action.
“It’s only a bump, no broken bones,” said the back-row forward.
Head coach Saint-Andre laughed off the minor complaint, jokingly saying: “He only broke a nail!”
As France launch their final preparations having settled into their London base, loose forward Damien Chouly called for a quick rise in intensity and focus.
“If we want to be at full potential on Saturday, we have to keep our energy,” said Chouly.
“But after two days of rest, we are happy to get on the field and get the machine going.”