Top 10 rugby teams: the best players in France over the years | Rugby Union News


Read below our selection of the 10 best players in France ...

Read below our selection of the 10 best players in France…

The sixth installment in our Rugby Union Top 10 series, as we take a look at 10 of the biggest players in France.

Keep an eye on the coming weeks as we take a look at 10 of the top players from the top 10 rugby nations in the world: England, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa, Wales, Australia, Scotland, Argentina, France and Italy.

Then it’s France – in no particular order ..

Thierry Dusautoir (2006-2015)

The flanker was a wonderful performer for Les Bleus and won 80 caps for France during his international career.

He was captain for a record 56 tests, leading France to a historic victory over the All Blacks on New Zealand soil in 2009 and a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2010. He is also one of two captains of France in history to have led his country to victories over New Zealand, South Africa and Australia.

At club level, Dusautoir became championship champion in France with Biarritz in 2006, winning the league three times with Toulouse in 2008, 2011 and 2012, and led Toulouse to a European Cup title in 2010.

Perhaps the two most significant days in Dusautoir’s career were against the All Blacks. In a 2007 Rugby World Cup quarter-final, the back row scored a try and made 38 amazing tackles – still a Test record – while France eliminated the pre-tournament favorites 20-18 in a monumental shock. His tackle total was two more than the overall All Blacks team combined.

And in 2011, Dusautoir led France as a skipper as they recovered from an embarrassing group stage defeat in Tonga to continue and reach the World Cup final against the All Blacks on kiwi soil . France would lose a controversial 8-7 final, Dusautoir scoring a try and claiming the man of the match despite his loss.

He was named World Player of the Year the same year.

Serge Blanco (1980-1991)

Record player of France, top scorer of all time with 38, the elegant white back Blanco was one of the greatest players in this sport, whatever the nation.

He played 93 times for France during his career, winning the Grand Slam of the Five Nations in 1981 and 1987, when he was captain of France at the 1991 World Cup.

He also scored the game-winning try to defeat Australia’s favorite in the semifinals of the very first World Cup in 1987.

A club man, he spent his entire career in Biarritz between 1974 and 1992. A magical runner and counterattack player, Blanco is regularly selected for the XV world champions of all time.

Jean-Pierre Rives (1975-1984)

In the back row with a shock of blonde hair, Rives is considered a cult hero in France for his performance and his qualities in combat against his 59 test caps – including 34 as a captain.

He won the Grand Slam of the Five Nations with France in 1977 and 1981, as well as another champion title in 1983, while he also piloted the very first team of France to defeat the All Blacks.

He became a renowned painter and artist in retirement, with his work exhibited worldwide.

Fabien Pelous (1995-2007)

A mountain in a second row, Pelous still holds the record for the most capped Frenchman of all time, after playing for Les Bleus in 118 tries.

He was captain in 42 of those matches, a total only improved by Dusautoir in history.

Uncompromising, physically and tactically astute, Pelous’ career was laden with trophies, as he enjoyed success at the Six Nations Grand Slam in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2004 – the latter as captain – and another title in 2006.

Pelous was also the first French captain in history, and still one of only two alongside Dusautoir, to have led Les Bleus to victories over each of the following countries: New Zealand, South Africa and Australia .

At club level, he spent 12 of his 18-year professional career with the Toulouse native club, winning two European Cup titles in 2003 and 2005, as well as three French champion titles in 1999, 2001 and 2008. .

Philippe Sella (1982-1995)

Before Pelous, it was the Sella center that held the record for appearances for France, having played 111 times for its country before retirement – and this at a time when such a count of selections was almost unknown.

A wonderfully creative midfielder who also had a keen appetite for defense, Sella was one of five players to score a try in each test of a five-nation championship.

He was described by former France coach Jacques Fouroux as having “the strength of a bull but the touch of a pianist”, and would play for France in three World Cups, finishing second in 1987 and third in 1995 .

Sella was one of three Five Nations victories in his career: 1987 as a Grand Slam, 1989 and 1993, while he won three other titles shared with France in 1983, 1986 and 1988.

At club level, Sella won championship titles in France with Agen in 1982 and 1988, before moving to the Saracens in 1996, where, alongside Michael Lynagh, he put the club on the road to success.

Serge Betsen (1997-2007)

Nicknamed mower, translated as “the Grim Reaper”, Betsen in the back row was one of the most difficult players to have practiced this sport.

But for injuries from his extremely physical style of play, Betsen is said to have scored more than the 63 caps he had gleaned from the test scene during his decade.

The highlight of Betsen’s career may have come in 2002 when faced with a superb English team that would win the World Cup a year later, it shut down Jonny Wilkinson to the point where the playmaker was replaced while France won 20-15. .

With that, The Blues would continue to win the Grand Slam that year, as England head coach Clive Woodward later remarked: “He is the only player I can say was the only one reason we lost a match “

In 2006, he won a title of champion of France with Biarritz, before discovering the last years of his career in England with the Wasps.

Philippe Saint-Andre (1990-1997)

The wing has won 69 caps for France during its seven-year test career, captaining the team in 34 of them.

Saint-André played for France by beating Australia on Australian soil in 1990 – their first victory against the Wallabies Down Under since 1972 – as well as the victory of the Blues in five nations in 1993. He also led France to third place as captain at the 1995 World Cup.

As a skipper, he also led France to a 2-0 series success against New Zealand in 1994 – an exceptional achievement which makes him one of the five men to have done so.

During the second test of this historic tour, with France late by 20-16, Saint-André began a counterattack from within his own 22, slaloming to start a movement which resulted in an astonishing test for Jean-Luc Sadourny.

After the match, Saint-André called it “a counterattack from the end of the world”, which led to the score being called “the try from the end of the world”.

Yannick Jauzion (2001-2011)

An ideal combination of size, rhythm and flair, the center of France Jauzion was a chic player who quite often showed a joy in monitoring his 73 test caps.

After breaking into the French team in 2001, he missed his 2002 Grand Slam success, but a move to Toulouse saw him clinch the first of three European Cup triumphs in 2003, as well as seal a place for the 2003 World Cup.

Subsequently, he was part of the Grand Slam of France 2004, the title of champion 2007 and the Grand Slam 2010. His two other European Cup titles arrived in 2005 – where he was man of the match in the final – and in 2010.

He retired after winning three French champion titles to sit alongside his three Heineken Cup successes.

Raphael Ibanez (1995-2007)

Only two men have played for France more in history than the prostitute Ibanez – Pelous and Sella – with his 98 selections, a marvelous total, and one that the former skipper would have surpassed if he had not retired between 2003 and 2005.

Ibanez was captain of 42 of these 98 caps, leading his country to the 1999 World Cup as a skipper, as they managed one of the biggest comebacks and shocks of all time to eliminate the All Blacks in semi-final and reach the final, where they lost to Australia.

Having been part of France’s race to the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup, Ibanez retired before being brought back into the fold of Test by Bernard Laporte in November 2005. After which he then led France as captain in their victorious 2007 Six Nations Campaign and at the 2007 World Cup.

In addition to this 2007 title, Ibanez also won Grand Slam titles with France in 1998 and 2002, as well as another champion title in 2006.

At club level, he won the European Cup with the wasps in 2007, when he scored a try and created another with two inventive alignment moves on the short side. He also won a Premiership winner medal the following year in 2008.

Vincent Clerc (2002-2013)

In the history of French rugby, only Blanco has scored more tries than Clerc (32) for Les Bleus – the latter being only two tries from the legendary rear but having played 26 fewer games (67 selections ).

The wing has become one of the deadliest finishers in world rugby throughout his career, winning three Six Nations titles in 2004, 2006 and 2007, as well as a trio of Cup titles. Europe with Toulouse in 2003, 2005 and 2010.

He also won a title of champion of France with Toulouse in 2008.


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