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Yarn Of The Month (some Great Stories)

10. Battle of the Boulevard - Hull 1951

Posted by... quigs eraofthebiff - on ... Saturday, May 05, 2012

YARN OF THE MONTH #10 ..... (original entry date) 22/12/2005

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Just a quick note here. This is where Quigs selects the best "Your Story" received for the month or a selection of a favorite older yarn - no correspondence will be entered into and the winner gets bugger all.
All yarns are unsubstantiated and are posted in good faith. Its just meant to be a fun thing, share some of our great memories from the Greatest Era of the Greatest Game of All.

 

Yarn from
The Great Rugby League Publication
Rugby League Journal
Year of Story -
Submitted 22/12/2005

Website for a great UK Rugby League Magazine covering the good old days.. highly recommended



Also see Memorable Matches No23 for more about this game

The Battle of the Boulevard
Nov 1951
France (world Champions) v Other Nationalities.

In the latest issue of "Rugby League Journal" recounts the titanic battle that took place in the City of Hull in November 1951 - the game that was known as:

The Battle of the Boulevard

It was one of the most infamous Rugby League international matches ever played on English soil, yet it did not involve a British team. On a Saturday afternoon in November 1951, the city of Hull staged a match between France and the Other Nationalities - a fierce and fiery encounter that has gone down in the folklore of the game as "The Battle of the Boulevard."

It brought together the Other Nationalities team of largely Australians against a French side playing their first match since returning from their sensational first tour down-under. The Aussies who had left their home land to play for English clubs in the early post-war years liked nothing better than to come together and wear the bottle-green jerseys of the Other Nationalities - and this encounter against the brilliant but volatile French team, the world champions of the time, provided an extra special incentive for them to succeed where their fellow countrymen in the Australian Test side had failed.

There was also a history of controversial incidents in previous matched between the Other Nationalities and France, but nobody could have predicted what was going to happen as the captains Lionel Cooper and Puig-Aubert led their tams out onto the Boulevard pitch that afternoon in November 1951.

Other Nationalities half-back Cec Kelly kicked off and in the first minute full-back Puig-Aubert created a good attacking position for France with an excellent kick to touch. Other Nationalities won possession from the scrum, but as second-rower Arthur Clues ran the ball out he was "tackled" high and with great force by his opposite number Eduoard Poncinet. Big Arthur was knocked out cold and had to be carried off. He was in a bad way, concussed, bleeding from the mouth and with an injury to his eye.

Referee George Phillips cautioned Poncinet and the game was held up for many minutes while Clues received first-aid. Everybody in the Other Nationalities team knew it was "pay back time" for big Arthur who, in the previous season's clash with France in Bordeaux, had laid out Poncinet leaving him pouring blood from a head wound. "I nearly scalped him," Arthur was known to claim, and the tough-nut French second-rower Poncinet had only revenge on his mind that day at the Boulevard.

With Clues off and the Other Nationalities down to 12 men for the remaining 79 minutes of the game, the Hull crowd of 18,000 got behind the "greens." Captain Lionel Cooper played one of the greatest games of his life, the big Aussie winger defying a knee injury to scorch in for a hat-trick of tries. It inspired his team to go on and clinch a famous 17-14 win against all the odds.

Interspersed with some brilliant football from the Frenchmen, Poncinet continued to wreak havoc with his fists until, eventually, in the second-half referee Phillips ran out of patience and sent him off. It was one of the greatest victories for an Other Nationalities team comprising of 10 Aussies, one New Zealander, a Scotsman and a Scots-Irishman. And in the folklore of "biffo" in Rugby League, the ongoing saga between Arthur Clues and Eduoard Poncinet was one of the most infamous personal duels the game has seen.

Story adapted from the "Rugby League Journal Annual 2006."

You can read much more from this game in the latest issue of "Rugby league Journal."



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