Now that France have made their exit from the Rugby World Cup I can exclusively rehash the story of Diomede.
Now I don’t read the sports pages of the newspapers but I realise that some of my readers might so I would like to apologise in advance if you were already aware of this sad, and tragic, story.
Diomede is a coq. And this is not a pejorative statement. It’s not that I don’t like him, quite the opposite in fact he seems rather nice, it is in fact that he is a male chicken. In fact Diomede was the French Rugby team’s mascot.
While the team would practice he would run up and down like a poultry line man. He enjoyed the teams successes and he commiserated during the teams failures.
In fact Diomede was more than just a mascot to the teams he was, in some circles, considered to be the teams secret weapon. It worked this way; whenever the team practiced the team member who did the least well would be assigned, by the coach, to chicken cleaning duty.
But within their cunning plan lay their undoing. Diomede became depressed. The only time people would come to see him was to clean him, and when they came they were always upset with themselves – and yes, Diomede too. Their own failure made Diomede feel like a failure.
Now luckily one of the French team was a farm hand and had noticed Diomede’s upset. He reported it immediately to the vet who prescribed lots of rest and a return to the wild. The French player wouldn’t go. So Diomede did instead. With Diomede retired there was a lack of consequence for bad performance in team practice, and this may have directly affected the French teams performance in the World Cup.
But there is another aspect to the story which has the French supporters suggesting, you guessed it, fowl play. When the French team travelled to Australia they were not allowed to take their usual mascot with them for health reasons. Diomede was an Australian coq. And there is rumour that he threw his game.