Friday, October 23, 2009
One of the best wingers ever in French rugby, Philippe Saint Andre is now retired and earlier this year, took up the post of Director of Rugby at Toulon in the South of France, leaving Sale for a new challenge.
Hes widely regarded as one of the legends of the game, having captained his country 34 times, with 68 Test caps to his name. One of the highlights of his career was leading France to two Test wins over the All Blacks, in New Zealand in 1994.
He also scored one of the greatest tries in history, in 1991, against England at Twickenham. It was started by another legend, Serge Blanco, from underneath the posts and ended with Saint Andre flying in after collecting a kick from Didier Camberabero.
In France, the try is known as L'Essai du Sicle , which means The Try of the Century.
"Do you remember Camberabero's little chip, kicking the ball from close to the touchline into the middle of the pitch? You don't that see any more," Saint-Andre says upon reflection.
"Rugby has changed. In my time, the wings, like Campese and Lomu, were the stars, because they scored the tries. Now, everyone scores and props are quicker than wings used to be. Everything has changed."
The quick witted former Gloucester, Bourgoin, and Sale coach touches on rugby philosophy.
"I am a former wing, but if I scored tries it was because the forwards were good. There is a saying in France; you need guys to carry the piano and guys to play the piano."
We had a few people asking if they could see this moment from the recent Toulon vs Saracens Amlin Challenge Cup match, in which we see Saint-Andre attempt to get himself in on the action once again.
Jonny Wilkinson put in a booming touch finder, which Sarries Alex Goode tried to take a quick throw-in from. The experienced Saint-Andre was having none of it though, and showed that competitive edge that he always had, by holding Goode back ever so slightly.
It was nothing too serious, but it's been an entertaining couple of weeks, what with players pushing refs, and coaches holding back players. Saint-Andre was simply overeager though, and did it out of instinct no doubt. Check out the related post to watch that awesome try once again.
France full field team try vs England 1991