"The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit" – Jean-Pierre Rives

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Why we love French Rugby

By Colin Spiro 29 August 2008


There are many reasons I started this website but the main one is a growing love of the French club rugby scene ever since moving down to the Pyrenees two years ago.

As a kid I idolised Jean-Pierre Rives with his unkempt hair and Serge Blanco with his unparalleled flair, but it wasn’t until actually living in France that I began to appreciate the true passion for the game, especially down here in ‘Le Sud’.

It’s the colour that gets you first, then the noise as the team and supporters entwine in L’espirit de clocher.

You can admire the free running and the willingness to entertain, or you can relish ‘Le combat’, with its potential for ‘bagarres generales’ (all-in brawls) to explode at any moment.

Whatever it is that draws you in, and it could just be the burgeoning numbers of etrangieres, it is impossible to deny that French club rugby is a vibrant amalgam of pride, skill and fervent parochialism – as all the best sports are.

That’s what I want to share with you and here in this section I’ll be picking out favourite clips from You Tube to help illustrate that belief. They are, of course, all personal selections, but I hope you enjoy them nonetheless.


My first clip came after Toulouse had beaten Clermont in last year’s Championship play-off and features the unfeasibly muscled Kiwi scrum-half Byron Kelleher doing an impromptu Haka on top of the team bus as the Bouclier de Brennus was paraded around La Ville Rose.


The second clip shows Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal on the pitch after a match leading a rendition of the club anthem ‘Pilou Pilou’. Love or hate him you’ve got to admire the man’s sheer love for his club.


And if you’re wondering what it all means, then you should watch this one too (which comes courtesy of www.dailymotion.com)


And finally, in best possible News at Ten silliness, here’s something to make you chuckle. It’s not French, but it is funny:




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