Sunday, September 28, 2008
Former Australian Rugby League star Mark Gasnier did not disappoint on his Top 14 and Rugby Union debut for unbeaten Stade Francais on Friday night. Gasnier finished off a fantastic try that contributed to their 32-25 win over hosts Bourgoin.
Twenty seven year old Gasnier will reportedly earn close to $1 million (US) a season in his Union adventure under new Australian coach Ewen McKenzie. Former Waratahs coach McKenzie being a strong reason for Gasnier joining the Parisian club.
"I admit the presence of Ewen at the head of the team was one of the determining factors in my decision to come and play in Paris. It's important for me to have an Australian coach"
He marked his debut with a handful of strong runs and did what he could playing at wing in his first big Union match at this level. His try concluded a wonderful move that saw Argentinian wizard Juan Martin Hernandez and Italian IRB Player of the Year nominee Sergio Parisse combine with a classy bit of passing before the ball was flung out to Lionel Beauxis.
Fly half Beauxis, who scored 16 points with his boot on the night, then delicately flicked the ball on to Gasnier who was on hand to finish a classic Stade Francais try.
Assistant coach Christophe Dominici was more than impressed with Gasnier on his first run out for the powerhouse French club.
He tried to unearth the gaps and he was really involved in some of the moves. That was impressive because it is not easy to move from league to union. This proves he has the talent and the quality.
A lovely try, and a great start to his Rugby Union career for Gasnier. We'll keep an eye on his progress throughout the season.