Why we love French rugby - Part II
By Colin Spiro 24 September 2008
Watching the mass brawl between Toulon and Stade Francais recently got me thinking about the importance of the physical aspect in rugby, especially the French variety.
Some people decry such behaviour and say it has no place in the game, but not me, and dare I say it not the majority of those who either pay to attend or watch from their armchairs.
As long as there?s no serious long-term injury it seems to me that rugby punch-ups are part and parcel of what is after all a very physical game.
When I was a kid growing up in England the BBC commentator Bill McLaren used to describe such incidents as ?a bit of rough and tumble? in his laconic Scottish drool, and often it?s more a case of handbags at six yards rather than serious assault.
Still, I?d far rather watch a couple of sixteen stone props slugging it out than an overpaid footballer swallow diving theatrically at the mere hint of an opponent getting within touching distance.
Bearing that in mind I thought a quick selection of some of rugby?s more ?physical? moments might make for entertaining viewing, beginning with that recent brawl at the Stade Mayol (www.youtube.com).
The French don?t seem to mind the odd on-field dust-up ? they even have their own phrase for it: bagarre générale.
The Toulon fight was sparked by an ongoing niggle between opposing props David Banquet (Toulon) and Rodgrio Roncero (Stade), but the real action ? and you?ll have to watch this a couple of times to really catch it ? is dished out by Toulon?s South African scrum-half Norman Jordaan (number nine).
Why We Love French Rugby - Part I