View Full Version : French tourists begin in style

28-07-08, 10:05 PM

France began their tour on July 12 with a 19-0 victory over Rhodesia in Salisbury (now Harare, Zimbabwe), scoring four tries in the process.

The tourists had been warned this game would be the easiest of what was sure to be a bruising tour, even if the British Isles only managed a narrow 16-12 victory three years before.

The flambuoyant visitors wasted no time in making an impression - straight from the kick off.

Lucien Mias received the kick and passed the ball to Jean Barthe who dashed 60 metres upfield only to be dragged down just short of the line.

But he was able to offload to François Moncla, who threw the ball to winger Jacques Lepatey but the chance was gone.

Even if the try was not scored, they had made the best possible start to the tour, signalling their intent with a breath-taking passage of play.

The sweeping move gave momentum to an adventure that will remain forever at the heart of French rugby.

It was not all good news for France who suffered their first two injuries of the tour to Michel Celaya and Lepatey.

But of more concern to the ambitious squad were the opportunities to score that had been missed.

A large victory by 40 or more points should have been recorded by the tourists - one that would have created a great deal of interest back home in France where the focus was on the football side that had finished third at the recent World Cup in Sweden and the political crisis that would lead to the return of General de Gaulle at the head of the state.

Nevertheless, the French side had made a winning start to their first ever tour of a Commonwealth country and were quite rightly looking forward to the rest of the tour.