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News: Racing 92 - A Potted History

By Francois Rossi
December 8 2015

With grateful thanks to COYSDC message-board regular, Sarge - a potted history of Saints' opponents on Satdee, Racing 92, as written by his Northampton-based French chum, Francois. Francois is also a supporter of the stripey ones; I'm sure we can forgive him this occasion...







Growing up in Paris in the 70’s and 80’s, there was only one club to support if you were into Rugby, the prestigious Racing Club de France and its wonderful bleu ciel et blanc colours. Stade Français, the other historic club, was no longer amongst the elite at that time, so the RCF was the only club who could compete with the ogres of the south-east, Toulouse, Béziers, Pau and Agen in those days.

Founded in 1882 as a sports club to cater for various activities, the Racing Club soon adds “de France” in 1885, shortly before securing a long-term concession in the Bois de Boulogne, north-east of Paris, where the amateur section still resides today at La Croix Catelan.

Georges de Saint-Clair was the first Secretary of the RCF and played an important role in the creation of the rugby section. Half-French, half-Scottish, the young Georges was educated in the UK and went to Cambridge. Later in 1890, when he publishes “Les règles du Rugby à XV”, the first book written in French about the rules of the game, he gives the sky blue of the Cambridge rugby team to the newly formed Rugby Club.

Unfortunately, the club never managed to be involved in a final whilst I was attending most, if not all, of the home games, even despite strengthening the squad in the early 80’s with the arrivals of Jean-Pierre Rives and Robert Paparamborde, two of the all-time greats of French rugby. Yet, just the year before I decided to embark on postgraduate studies in the UK, the wonderful generation of Blanc, Mesnel, Charvet, Cabannes, Blin, Benezech and many other players who also played for their country, won the Bouclier de Brennus in 1990. At last, my team was champion of France!

The following year, I arrived at Leicester University at the perfect time as the 1991 World Cup was on. I managed to get a ticket to see Italy take on New Zealand at Welford road, with a creditable performance by the Azzurri, losing only 21-31 to the team of the mighty Zinzan Brooke. Although Lynagh, Campese and friends were on top of the world that year.

When the rugby season resumed, I started following the Tigers and soon appreciated their fantastic players in action. Rowntree, Cockerill, Garforth, Richards, Underwood… and later Johnson, Back, Corry, Key, Moody and the two Heineken Cup victories of 2001 and 2002.

After 20 years in Leicester supporting the Tigers, moving to Northampton in 2011 meant going to Welford road was no longer as easy as it used to be, although I still manage the odd game now and then. But when in Rome... and with the Saints also playing in the top flight, I decided to watch a few games at Franklin’s Garden, and liked what I saw. So I keep an eye on Mallinder’s team and will, on occasion, even support them; and I am very much intrigued by the prospect of watching my fellow compatriot, Louis Picamoles, play for the Saints. However, when the East Midlands Derby is on, you can see me sport my green and maroon scarf! But win or lose, a Tigers vs Saints game rarely disappoints.

François Rossi



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News: Racing 92 - A Potted History (IP Logged)
08/12/2015 16:19
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Re: News: Racing 92 - A Potted History
Phil. (IP Logged)
08/12/2015 16:27
Many thanks to Francois for this article and also to Sarge for suggesting that it deserved a wider audience than originally intended... smiling smiley

Flinstone Saint
Re: News: Racing 92 - A Potted History
Flinstone Saint (IP Logged)
08/12/2015 17:18
Thanks indeed for a very informative read. Only just forgiven for being a Tiggers supporter though.


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Saint Kris
Re: News: Racing 92 - A Potted History
Saint Kris (IP Logged)
08/12/2015 17:42
Flinstone Saint
Thanks indeed for a very informative read. Only just forgiven for being a Tiggers supporter though.

... but at least it's no longer the Status Quo.

Very interesting & informative - thanks very much.

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2015:12:08:17:42:56 by Saint Kris.

Re: News: Racing 92 - A Potted History
SaintPaddy (IP Logged)
08/12/2015 18:00
A most interesting read - merci beaucoup.

Re: News: Racing 92 - A Potted History
fair_weather_fan (IP Logged)
08/12/2015 19:26
By what Geographical yardstick are Pau Agen and Toulouse in Southeast France? Perpignan you could make a strange case for...

Re: News: Racing 92 - A Potted History
Racing_Tiger (IP Logged)
26/12/2015 10:51
fair_weather_fan is correct. The article should read "south-west", my mistake for not noticing when writing it. You could argue that only Toulon is a mighty representative of the south-east. And apart from the two Paris clubs and Clermont in Auvergne, all the heavy weights are in the south-west indeed.

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