Monday, December 28, 2009
To mark the 75th anniversary of the FIRA-Association Europenne de Rugby, a great match took place last month between the French Barbarians and a European XV at the Stade du Roi Baudouin in Brussels.
Founded in 1979 by Jean-Claude Skrela after playing for the original Barbarians, the French Barbarians have a culture much like that of its British counterparts. They also wear their club socks, and running rugby is the order of the day.
A crowd of over ten thousand turned out in the Belgian capital to watch two sides brimming with talent. The French side contained both current and former Test players with the likes of Dimitri Yachvilli, Jrme Thion, Sbastien Bruno, Jerome Porical, and Julien Peyrelongue wearing the famous blue hoops.
League convert Karmichael Hunt also turned out for the French side.
The Europe XV had players drawn from Portugal, Georgia, Poland, Spain, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania, and England. The team included Romanias Sorin Socol, Gonalo Uva of Portugal, former England players Phil Christophers and Magnus Lund, and Spains Cesar Sempere.
The match was played in the correct spirit of the occasion, with both sides running the ball from all parts of the pitch. Castres wing Marc Andreu was particularly devastating, as was Jerome Porical who showed his class from the back.
The French Barbarians raced out into the lead, but the European side came back strongly and the match ended 39-26 to the Frenchmen, but as they say, rugby was the winner on a day that not only provided both entertainment for the locals, but was a great promotion for the game across Europe.
"The match represented a wonderful opportunity to show the very high level that players from these so called emerging nations play at. It also highlighted the depth of talent within the European Nations Cup," said FIRA-AER Chairman Jean-Claude Baqu.
"It was a great and historic day."