May the rugby Gods favour France.

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May the rugby Gods favour France.

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That’s what parishioners of this church in the South west of the country will be praying for ahead of Sunday’s rugby world cup final against New Zealand.

In the small village of Larriviere Saint Savin rugby is akin to religion – ‘Our Lady of Rugby’ chapel the proof.

The chapel only holds one mass a year – the timing of this one couldn’t have been better.

Local priest Gilbert Lavigne said: ‘‘Of course I am French and I have a chauvinist streak in me and I can’t hide that. However may the best team win but with mutual respect and friendship.’‘

A brief mass was given in front of two veteran players on Thursday – one of whom was former France captain Benoit Dauga, who earned 60 caps for his country.

“I think if the French manage to put a lot of pressure during the first 20 minutes the match could be very close. How the game starts will be crucial,” said Dauga

Stained glass windows depicting rugby scenes shower colourful light into the chapel which boasts donated memorabilia and a visitors book full of messages asking the almighty to smile on the French Sunday morning.