Didier Cambérabero

The Hidden Gem

"I was unlucky not to be picked in the original squad for the RWC in 1987 but then lucky to be picked in the final one. Berot, the kicker from Agen, got injured and they replaced him with Andrieu, a winger! The plane was departing from Orly for Australia at 6pm that day and at midday I received a phone call saying I had to get on it. I was in Béziers, miles from Paris, there were strikes everywhere and I didn’t know where my passport was. I eventually made it on the plane but the players were obviously not expecting me. They looked at me and said: 'What the fuck are you doing here?'"

I had spoken to Cambé during my long, well lubricated lunch with Serge so he was well primed when I reconnected to fix a time and place. I arrived in Marseille under torrential rain and headed to a restaurant called La Coupole that adjoins a shopping centre and is very near Bezier’s rugby ground. Didier came from one of the great dynasties of French rugby, son of Guy and nephew of Lilian, and was a key player in that wonderful try at Twickenham when he delivered the final kick which Philippe Saint Andre caught to score under the posts in 1991. But Cambé was also a vital player in the RWC, kicking all his points to beat Australia in the semi final. It is still a source of chagrin for him that he has never been fully recognised for the role he played.

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