13 November 2015. That date will always be associated with the atrocious attacks in Paris and at the Stade de France. Early February marks the first match at the ground since that night: France played Italy in the curtain raiser of the 6 Nations.
No particular measures of heightened security have been put in place. An additional cordon was installed before entering the premises of the ground. There were more armed police but that was about all there was for security. Everything went smoothly without much fuss. However, there was no apparent reason to create a bottle neck on the way back to the train station after the match other than managing the flow towards the trains.
The sun was shining as though as to show its sympathy providing light and warmth. Inside the stadium the mood was hyped up with The Wave. Of course the Tricolore dominated in the stands and there was that bit of extra zest when the Marseillaise was sung.
Equipped with little Rugby experience, do not expect a thorough match report as would normally be the case when reporting on the more popular variation of football. Only that much can be said: France, despite leading 10-8 at half time did not dominate the game; Italy defended well and had a say throughout the match. It was no surprise that the Azzuri took the lead with a penalty followed by a try only minutes later. It was France however, who then had to bounce back from being 10-19 down to win 23-21. Though Italy’s last attempt at a drop goal went wide and the cheer of relief made the stadium tremble!