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Friday, May 18, 2012

Rugby Memories from RWC 2007 in Languedoc

I have not been able to get much computer access during this trip to Europe. We had a great time on our cruise, with 3 stops in Italy, and two in France. When we got back to Barcelona, we rented a car and made it to Montpellier, where we stayed 3 nights with my friend, Bernard Massé.

Back in 2007, my son Ian and I saw two games from Rugby World Cup 2007 in Montpellier. The games were played at the Stade de la Mosson, but Australia practiced at this stadium, which is now the current home for Montpellier's rugby team. It seats about 15,000. Rugby is done here for the year, as Montpellier will play it's next playoff game at a neutral site in Toulouse.

One of my other great memories in 2007, was visiting my friend Jean-Paul in Puisserguier, a little village near Bézieers. Languedoc is right in the heart of rugby country. Montpellier may be on top of the standings in Ligue 1 in soccer/football, but the oval ball is something very near and dear to the heart of the average person in the smaller towns.

One evening, while in Puisserguier, Jean-Paul, my son Ian and I had a few too many glasses of Pastis at a local, rugby-centric bar. Too drunk to drive back to Montpellier, we stayed the night at Jean-Paul's place. one thing  I remember is trading my USA Rugby sweatshirt with the bartender, a fellow prop, who gave me his rugby jersey for the local side.

The other day, my wife and I stopped in Puisserguier to meet Jean-Paul, and we stopped at the same bar/café. The bartender remembered me, and even gave me a glass of Pastis for old time's sake...
Pastis! The National Drink of the South of France.

Our friendly bartender remembered me from 2007
Jean-Paul even had a present for me: a signed rugby ball by Robert Hierro, the man who coached Toulon to it's last French Title in 1987, and also has written some very good articles and books about the sport of rugby. The Gilbert ball also had the emblem of ABB, the local side. This ball is going to have a place of honor next to one of the 2011 RWC balls I have back in the USA. It was a great walk down memory lane.
With a signed ball by Robert Hierro, former Toulon Coach.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus...I just cannot believe that my friend is gone. Dormez en paix, mon vieux.