Erik Bonneval

The Deadly Finisher

"When I scored those 3 tries against Scotland in 1987, at the post match dinner, someone asked the referee about potential forward pass. He just said: ‘The action was so fast and beautiful that I felt I just had to award it!’ Everyone in the room clapped! It was great to see French flair winning over the referee."

Erik exhibits all those classic southern French characteristics that make me yearn to spend time there – that smile, warmth of character, guttural southern accent, outgoing personality and love of rugby. We first met one snowy winter’s evening at a busy and noisy hotel bar at Heathrow, which was a real test of both my hearing and French. We met again in the more relaxed surroundings of the St John’s Club adjacent to the mighty Stade Toulousain where we chatted about his two sons, both playing in the Top 14, and his time playing for France and Toulouse and with his great mates – Denis, Codor, Lolo, Serge and Selloche.

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