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Thursday Jan 16, 2014

The biggest punches and worst fights in French domestic rugby

The biggest punches and worst fights in French domestic rugby
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Comments

While condoning fighting on the rugby field is naturally frowned upon, most fans would admit that they enjoy seeing a good scrap occasionally. With that in mind, there are few places that do it better than France, especially in seasons gone by. Here is a compilation of some of the best ever.

Canal Plus have put together this video that features some of the biggest punches, fights and dirty bits of play in French rugby over the last decade or so. It was created for the show ‘The Rugby Session’ (Le Séance Rugby) on Canal+ Sport, and is somewhat of a masterpiece.

The Top 14 doesn’t have the reputation of being one of the toughest leagues to play in for nothing, and that’s all on show here. And yes, Irishman Trevor Brennan seems to be in there a helluva lot.

View more classic French punchups and brawls in the Related Posts below

44 Comments

  • namastebuzz
    9:27 AM 29/08/2014

    All just a bit of fun......... I was watching NRL the other day (keeping an eye on Sam Burgess - who was awesome) when commentator Andrew Johns (a League legend himself) came out with the comment: "Well, the problem is that they changed the rules so that you're not allowed to punch anyone any more......" He was bemoaning all the "afters" that go on after the play-the-ball with players niggling each other. He went on to elaborate that if a little bloke messed about with some bloke 30kgs heavier then he'd get smacked so that's why it didn't happen so much. A man after my own heart.....

    Reply
  • nzbougnat
    8:00 PM 21/01/2014

    A bit of a classic track. Telling you all about love and how to "give"... Doesn't make me feel any younger but the whole vid put a big, fat, satisfied smirk on my face for the day!

    Reply
  • drg
    10:51 AM 21/01/2014

    Does anyone remember the days of RugbyDump where there would be a fight or a scuffle video shown each week and the majority of regular commentators weren't a bunch of bitches that used to moan about 'giving rugby a bad name' or how this is going to make rugby less attractive to the new generations etc etc etc... I mean grow some damn balls guys. No one says watching this video will make you fight, or requires you to join in. It's entitled "The biggest punches and worst fights in French domestic rugby" it's not exactly like RD has tricked you into watching something. If you don't have the balls to WATCH a video then don't watch it. Looking left and right of this page I see jumpers and tops, 'blood sweat and beers', 'get your first tackle in early..even if it's late' and I assume 'MTFU' to mean Man the fuck up. You'd never assume those would apply to rugby by reading some of the comments on this page.

    Reply
  • drg
    10:41 AM 21/01/2014

    I disagree and perhaps so do you (in terms of a big sweeping statement) by the way you said "you don't really", 'really' gives me the impression you don't back your statement 100%. I am actually not far off your 'generation' and everyone I play with/against, is focussed on playing rugby... that still doesn't mean a scuffle won't break out now and again.

    Reply
  • 11:24 PM 20/01/2014

    Yep I agree, what helps a lot in the uk (so on bbc) is that you've got foreign pundits (keith wood, davies, gusgott...etc) who stay true to their country but are for me, fair and honest, and if they see bad unpro play will say.(also the mixter of welsh, english, irish..etc does help for example: if ashton were to do a high tackle, davies would talk him down). For me french rugby is based and commentary is based on: up front a big old fashionned pack, and i dont think people like pelous ou Galtier would comment as much as gusgott/davies..etc on a high tackle, or a cheap shot punch.

    Reply
  • cambridgeshirekid
    6:51 PM 20/01/2014

    Yeah, totally true! By my generation I was talking about 18-23 year olds making the transition now. I've been playing soley mens rugby now for getting on 5 years and you don't really see any of this from anyone under the age of about 35.

    Reply
  • 45678
    12:14 PM 19/01/2014

    After playing for 20 years and seeing countless brawls, having been involved in a few, I can only conclude that most rugby players don't know how to fight, including myself. It's usually posturing and handbags. Invariably no one ever gets hurt beyond a black eye. A lot of fuss about nothing

    Reply
  • fingers99
    5:21 PM 18/01/2014

    I agree, v surprising indeed!!! The locals in Toulouse loved him though, sound man and his bar is great craic in Toulouse.

    Reply
  • drg
    2:52 PM 18/01/2014

    Ah the bane of apple products!

    Reply
  • yannoche
    2:24 PM 18/01/2014

    Florent Pagny "Savoir Aimer" Hi, the song is moody sure, but lyrics are very ironic considering the context (eg: "To know how to give, without taking back...).

    Reply
  • yannoche
    2:16 PM 18/01/2014

    I like your point. To enhance it, I thought important to specify that some of these extracts are quite old. There is no 'clean' genreation in rugby.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:06 AM 18/01/2014

    I actually went to a private school which did it's best to instil tidy appearance, good discipline and a strong code of honour... ...and our rugby coach still told us that bending someones fingers back is a good way to get them to release the ball in a maul. If a player has ribs exposed in a ruck/maul or ball carrying situation, hit them HARD with your shoulder etc etc... Rugby has always been about gaining a physical advantage over the opposition. As for fighting, it was never encouraged.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:03 AM 18/01/2014

    Move onto the next video then. I personally enjoy a bit of controversy and seeing a dust up. "Ban these guys for life"... what a pathetic knee jerk reaction. I could list a good amount of brilliant players who have thrown a punch in their life yet you'd have them all banned for life.... Good luck with that..

    Reply
  • drg
    11:51 PM 17/01/2014

    Not if he is from North America he doesn't.....

    Reply
  • drg
    11:50 PM 17/01/2014

    "I am of a generation where people actually want to play rugby and not insert fingers in eyes." Oh really? and what; pray tell, generation is that? Gouging has existed pre 2000 and still exists now post 2012 (not sure if we've had a gouge yet in 2014)... so again, tell me which generation it is that you're from?

    Reply
  • 6:02 PM 17/01/2014

    I'd watch who you were calling Anglo or Saxon or Trevor Brennan will bar you.

    Reply
  • 4:29 PM 17/01/2014

    I was taught similar things in Scotland (not eye gouging, though). Anything to help get a physical advantage over the opposition was encouraged and often worked. And there were no afters, as described above. On some rugby tours in France at school level games always descended into mass brawls. Didn't know if it was because we were a touring team or if that was just normal for them. It seems like it was just normal. We certainly learnt a thing or two after those matches which made us a better team.

    Reply
  • colombes
    4:28 PM 17/01/2014

    Entertaining clip by Canal+, as usual. Just for a reminder, Canal+ doesn't want to celebrate rugby violence. It's just an ironic blink towards professional players who sometimes behave like spoiled brats, but with golgoth arms ;) On a side note, Canal+ has signed new tv rights for the top14. On violence in french rugby, like said above, u will plenty of scraps at amateur and regional level, but this kind of behaviour tend to disappear at professional level. However, Top14 team often hides one vilain to do the dirty job.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    3:58 PM 17/01/2014

    Fascinating cultural observations. Thanks Frenchie!

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    3:22 PM 17/01/2014

    The frogs don't have the monopoly on this type of thing. It seems like it exists in Romania, Russia, and Georgia quite a bit too. I played some in the USA and there are whole teams that are strictly polynesian. When they get down invariably the fists start flying. Sorry to racially/culturally profile but that was my experience.

    Reply
  • finedisregard
    3:14 PM 17/01/2014

    I wonder how old you are? Nobody is calling you a pussy. Rugby is not about fighting to be sure, but as a front rower what would you do if your opposite was striking one of your smaller teammates? Sometimes you have to look after your mates.

    Reply
  • scottssherwood
    2:20 PM 17/01/2014

    At the start you said,'While condoning fighting on the rugby field is naturally frowned upon, most fans would admit that they enjoy seeing a good scrap occasionally.' Really? I go to watch a game of rugby, not some grown man acting like a school boy prat. Ban these guys for life. That would soon stop it. Take it off the field and the police would be involved. Why aren't they when this rubbish starts? Take this trash out of rugby....

    Reply
  • cambridgeshirekid
    2:13 PM 17/01/2014

    I was just going to stay quiet, but you pissed me off here. Played front row all my rugby life and never at any level that I have played felt the need to punch someone. Maybe I am just a pussy or maybe I feel no need to put myself in a position where I could get a red card, make my team play the rest of the match a man down and possibly allow the heat of the moment make me do something down right irresponsible. However, It could just be that I am of a generation where people actually want to play rugby and not insert fingers in eyes.

    Reply
  • cambridgeshirekid
    1:59 PM 17/01/2014

    Greig, I am actually a fully fledged member of the FRC for the last 13 years.

    Reply
  • 1:18 PM 17/01/2014

    Woodward, Guscott and Davies?! Are you kidding me. The worst rugby commentators on TV.

    Reply
  • kanpai
    11:49 AM 17/01/2014

    I completely disagree with you on the Armitage case. Before the H-cup final, there were no Armitage bashing, it's only his action on this day that started it. As a Frenchman, i never hated someone because of his country, and Englishman, even if media wants us to believe were archenemy, we respect players when they deserve it ( For example Wilkinson, Jason Robinson, are really appreciated contrary to players like Farrell, Ashton, Henson ... who show off constantly ). And what is not appreciated about Toulon is their staff (Boudjellal and Laporte) who always whine and shout about everything. As I've said, only the un-sportsmanship players are criticized. On the fight subject, it's mostly a matter of culture. In france you're taughed that you need to punish your opponent for a lot of reasons (not releasing, slowing the game, cheating...), and sometimes, added with the frustration, it goes too far. I don't say it's a good thing, and it should be punished, but it will take time before some change (but everything is possible, look, even Fritz got quieter over time ^^).

    Reply
  • connachtman
    10:11 AM 17/01/2014

    Trevon Brennan, aka the Barnhall Bruiser was a gaaldiator on the pitch and complete gentleman off it. Fact.

    Reply
  • connachtman
    10:09 AM 17/01/2014

    You mean "honour code"

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:02 AM 17/01/2014

    "What a highly artistic and beautifully made video :D" It is quite beautiful though isn't it! Love the moody soundtrack!

    Reply
  • 8:19 AM 17/01/2014

    The public get what the public want, and if you havent got the Sir clivewooward, gusgotts, davies..etc saying he shouldn't do that he's not professionnal at all, disgrace, well then 90% of the public (viewers i mean) wouldn't have a clue. And France don't have that as much as the UK. But to say the french in general are "more violent" is bollocks. The french hate delon armitage and dig into him when he shows off, or does a cheap tackle, but they critisize him because 1: he plays for Toulon so people jump on the bandwagon and dislike him and 2: he is english "ze dirty englishhh playerrr". But they're lacking professionnal points of view and critisism.

    Reply
  • 8:08 AM 17/01/2014

    I think its all down to the people that talk about rugby on tv, british rugby on bbc and even on sky is presented so brilliantly, people respect the views of Clivewoodward, Gusgott, Davies..etc and if they see some cheep shot punch of gounge they rip into the player and say thats its not a all professionnal, and the fans watching agree and respect/listen to their points of view, whereas in french, commentary is shite, really bad, at half time they have adverts instead of a long half time "tale of the half" and discussion. The british media rip into players, and which opens debates (just like what we're doing now). The french dont talk and critisize as much, so the players are less monitored, which does allow some thugs into the game. BUT saying that the french in general are more violent is absoluttttte bollocks! The french play (apart from Michalak) play with emotion, no with the idea "lets go and beat them up" .... Where as south africa for me is the worst, dirtiest team out there for eye gouging and cheap shots. Their forwards are bullys (brilliantly skilled and big blokes, but bullys) and the rugby, I think over there is so much part of their culture that the media can't dig into players as much. For example look how much everyone dug into Dylan Hartley for talking back to the ref (and he was a dick) but fair play he took his ban, missed the lions and on any england rugby forum someone will always say "Hartley is a thug", and he knows that, I dont think he will cock up again.

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    5:18 AM 17/01/2014

    Top 14 is hands down the best for fighting

    Reply
  • 3:27 AM 17/01/2014

    Fighting is stupid, tribal and dangerous. Lots of these shots are cheap and frankly, as a boxing and UFC fan, pretty crappy. I for one would like to see the elimination of fighting from hockey, it's usually done by some goon who wants to "fire up" his losing team. Hate to see it become more prevalent in rugby, which I don't see. Bring on the big tackles

    Reply
  • 12:18 AM 17/01/2014

    Ankle*

    Reply
  • 12:15 AM 17/01/2014

    I play rugby in the south west of France, between Toulouse, Biarritz and Bayonne, so in the heart of french rugby, and I wouldn't say the french are any different to any other country. It depends a lot nowadays what level you play at I think, low club level is shite, most people just go for a fight, and then a beer or beers after, shite rugby. Medium level-semi pro is good, it gets a lot cleaner and you see some nice rugby, but you will always get fights in rugby whatever level, for me what rugbydump should be showing (to disgrace) a cheap shots of dicks that gouge or bite or Cian Healy trying to snap someones ancle, thats would should stop! Gounging is for me the worst, if you cant take a punch, you shouldnt really play rugby, im not saying you should give one but someone is always gunna try a quick swing, take the hit, then do a courtney lawes tackle on him. But if someone trys to gouge you, he deserves a punch!!! I went to see Biarritz-Bath in...like 2006 and a french prop gouged Danny grewcock (probably not knowing he's a black belt in karate) and you could see D.G on the floor in agony for a couple of mins, but the next scrum it kicked of, D.G hit the prop twice and he knocked him out, they both got yellow carded and had to sit next to each other on plastic chairs about 5m apart for 10mins. I really think the prop was thinking "fuck... Im such a dick". Point is you wont stop fighting, but i really think gouging and deliberate dangerous stamping should be heavily sanctionned! And publicly annonced when a player gets a ban.

    Reply
  • matt
    11:30 PM 16/01/2014

    I enjoy the odd fight, but it would be a shame if it became a staple of the game, which is kind of how I understand it to be in ice hockey. Is this right? Either way I agree with you on the cheap shot side of thing, ice hockey fights are great because they have it out, within a certain set of 'rules' and then everyone gets back to what they were doing.

    Reply
  • matt
    11:27 PM 16/01/2014

    You're clearly an idiot, so now I guess we can focus all our efforts on figuring out why Cambridgeshirekid insists on presenting such reasonable and well presented conversation points, the bastard.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    9:41 PM 16/01/2014

    I don't know why you're getting slated. You're right, there is no point to fighting. A professional player should not be losing his cool. Throwing a punch and starting a brawl has to be the most stupid thing you can do for your team. Unless it is in self defence there is absolutely no reason to hit a guy. Some of the cheap shots in this video whilst the other guy is on the floor really do reach new heights of stupidity, cowardice and violence. Mostly stupidity if I'm being honest. If this makes me a football fan, Greig, then sign me up. If you're pissed off at someone, take lead from Josh Lewsey.

    Reply
  • reality
    8:52 PM 16/01/2014

    Have to say that I find fighting in rugby one of the most annoying things ever. I understand that it can happen for various reasons pointed out above but it doesn't make it any less annoying and stupid. If someone's eye-gouging starts a fight, ok, that, I can understand, but if I'm watching/playing rugby I hate seeing the game stopped for five minutes because some big baby can't control himself and starts a brawl for no reason, as is the case in most of these clips. Especially when it results in your team getting put at a disadvantage through a yellow/red card. I always wondered what it was about French rugby that made it so violent. Fights happen everywhere, but mass brawls in modern-day rugby seem to be almost exclusively French. Are French people just unable to control their emotions? Is punching someone for no reason seen as macho there? Or is it that that behaviour is tolerated for some reason so there's no disincentive for players? I'm guessing it's the latter since even non-French players can be just as violent but strangely even for them it seems to happen mainly in the Top14, e.g. Trevor Brennan and Jamie Cudmore. You see it in videos from the 80s and from modern-day amateur countries as well, so I'm guessing for whatever reason it's been discouraged so much in other big rugby-playing countries that they've moved on and it's become a relatively infrequent thing whereas France is still stuck in the bad old days.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    8:49 PM 16/01/2014

    I'll freely admit to being a huge hypocrite when it comes to rugby fights. Generally I'm against them, and I dream of a world where all offenders are cited and punished equally. But the sad fact is, there are some players who you just hope if a fight breaks out they get filled in. You know, the Gavin Hensons. That sort of fight still works for me. I blame an incident in my youth, when Naas Botha - who I hated when playing for Northern Transvaal - was obliterated by a Free State flanker. The memory still warms my heart.

    Reply
  • barty
    8:31 PM 16/01/2014

    Very surprised to see Trevor Brennan in the thick of it in nearly all of the Toulouse clips

    Reply
  • guy
    8:08 PM 16/01/2014

    I really hate seeing players throw cheaps shots at each other while in the meantime we are patting ourselves on the back because in rugby respect for opponents is a core value. On the other hand: one thing I dislike even more is players faking their own death without even being properly hit. I guess there are two sides to every medal (a French medal that is).

    Reply
  • drg
    7:00 PM 16/01/2014

    What a highly artistic and beautifully made video :D Joking aside, great video, actually really enjoyed that - Well, enjoyed is perhaps not the right word, but it was a good watch. Some of those shots were very nasty. CambridgeshireKid, of course there is little point to fighting, however if someone is throwing a fist at me I would be inclined to hit back, unless of course it's swiftly broken up. Take Cudmore v O'Connell, POC stood there for 2-3 hits(?) before retaliating... How long does he stand there and be a punching bag before hitting back?

    Reply
  • cambridgeshirekid
    6:25 PM 16/01/2014

    Never understood the point of fighting. Only ever seems to be a sign that the team who started it are losing badly and are frustrated, which is normally a good sign and doesn't need retaliation

    Reply


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