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Memorable Matches From The Biff Era

(m22) 1951 FRENCH RUGBY LEAGUE SIDE - WORLD CHAMPIONS

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Friday, May 04, 2012

1951 FRENCH RUGBY LEAGUE SIDE - WORLD CHAMPIONS

MEMORABLE MATCHES #22

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Get some more beers, or make another coffee, take your time and have some fun.

from Quigs "As mentioned previously, I am not a rugby league historian, a rugby league expert. I am just a lover of this era of Rugby League." ... This is a recollection of some of the battles, and the trench warfare that I, and others watched over time. Some are matches that I was told about, or read about.


MATCH SUMMARY.. REGARDED BY MANY AS THE GREATEST, CERTAINLY THE MOST ENTERTAINING, INTERNATIONAL TEAM TO TOUR AUSTRALIA





Posted by Quigs - found this link 11/5/2012 on YouTube
Featuring This game and  Player features in great of league doco. Rugby League That's Rugby League 1950's ... CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to view another article on the Third Test. A report from the Sydney Truth, kindly supplied to EOTB by Sean Fagan of www.rl1908.com

(From the History of Australian Rugby League)

The 1951 FRENCHMEN ARE STILL REGARDED BY MANY AS THE GREATEST, CERTAINLY THE MOST ENTERTAINING, INTERNATIONAL TEAM TO TOUR AUSTRALIA.

This was the first French Tour of the southern hemisphere, and the French rugby league team's reputation for unpredictability preceded them. Yet no one was prepared for what the French were about to do to Australian Football.

France played so poorly in the early games of the tour that the Australian Rugby League threatened to send the team home in disgrace. The Frenchman's play was casual almost to the point of not seeming to care, and the ARL feared a disastrous tour, jeopardising the chance of France being invited back. The Australian officials came to understand only too well just how much the French took the warning to heart. In spite of the teams reputation for being casual, 60,160 converged on the Sydney Cricket Ground for the First Test.




The French were bright, colourful characters with a laid back approach. Their personalities were matched by their playing outfits - brilliant red, white and blue guernseys. They had an assortment of expensive touring accessories, such as track suits and lounge suits, that made the French the best dressed sporting team to visit Australian Shores to that time. They appeared to play the game for fun and this approach appealed to the Australian public.

What's more, their captain Puig Aubert, a roly poly fullback who looked incapable of running the length of the field, endeared himself to the crowds. If the spectators felt they were going to a Test football massacre, they reasoned that a least the French would provide entertainment on their way to defeat.

Instead the French played breathtaking, dazzling football and downed the Australians 26 -15. It was in this First Test that Australia had its first real glimpse of the great second row pair Brousse and Ponsinet, of brilliant halfback Jean Dop, of centres Comes and Merquey, Contrastin, Crespo, Bartoletti, Mazon and so on.



Clive Churchill feels the brunt of volatile French half Jean Dop's
tackle after kicking the ball in the 1st Test at the SCG 1951


When the Australians went to Brisbane for the Second Test and stifled the French running game, winning 23 - 11, the opinion was that the Sydney Test had been an aberration. With the series at one-Test all, 67,009 crammed into theSydney Cricket Ground, most of them expecting the Australians to put paid to the unorthodox and strange qualities of French league. But the Australians were handed their worst beating ever.

Australians, johnny Bliss, left, Keith Holman, background, watch
on as big french forward Elie Brousse latches on to Clive
Churchill during the first test at the SCG in 1951


The French took rugby league to a higher level - they played an emotion charged running game that bamboozled the Australian defence. As the stirring strains of Le Marseillaise blared out across the ground before the match on that afternoon, July 21, 1951, some of the Frenchmen had wept. When the match was over, some of the Australians wanted to do the same.

The French scored 7 tries, equalling the most scored against Australia in a Test. Great Britain had scored seven in 1910 and 1948, but no one had done it quite like these Frenchmen. The final score was 35 -14. Puig Aubert added seven goals to bring his tally to a record 18 for the series. He scored 163 points on tour, the most by a player on a tour of Australia and hiss 77 goals was also a record.



Puig Aubert, airborne as he kicks for goal in the
1st Test at the SCG 1951. Note the old scoreboard
on the Hill.. Era of the Biff uses the scoreboard
as a background for this website.


Although Australia monopolised the early stages of the Third Test, France took command in an 18 minute period before halftime, scoring four tries. George Crawford, writing in the Sunday Telegraph described one try : "The first (by Crespo) was the result of a brilliant piece of team work. From a scrum 40 yards out, the ball speed along the three quarter line. Full back, Puig Aubert moved up to make the extra man. Puig Aubert got the ball, straightened the attack and cut out two men. Flannery knocked him out as he slipped the ball to front rower Paul Bartoletti, who backed up inside. As Puig Aubert lay unconscious on the field, Bartoletti and Mazon went through and sent Crespo over for the try."

The theorist believed that the game would be won by the team dominating the scrums. Australia won the scrums 29 -16, yet France still went on to their tryscoring orgy! Australia scored its two tries in the last fifteen minutes of the game.

Crowds on the hill bet heavily on the match, Australia starting odds on. The French quickly move to odds on at halftime when leading 20 - 4. Wild brawls broke out after the match and 10 people were injured, four of them unable to steer clear of the fight because of the hemmed in crowd.

(From the History of Australian Rugby League)

CLICK HERE to view another article on the Third Test. A report from the Sydney Truth, kindly supplied to EOTB by Sean Fagan of www.rl1908.com




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