"Gary Whetton, the former great All Black, was and is a great man. In the Battle of Nantes in 1986, we stamped, raked and punched him and the ABs the whole game. But there was a moment when the All blacks did the same to us. They smashed us and Pascal was left wounded on the floor. Gary stopped and extended his hand to help Pascal up. That really marked with me. I thought 'big respect'."
I tracked Jean Condom down via Pascal Ondarts who seems to know everyone and is the central pillar of both the Basque and French rugby community. The day before I met him at Pascal’s hotel, I spoke to Sean Fitzpatrick who said: ‘Ah, Jean, please say hi and thank him for the 26 stitches he gave me!” I always thought of Jean as a quiet guy with an amusing last name. But as I discovered, he was also a very tough man, a silent assassin on the pitch who could compete with the hardest of opponents. He was a great example of the Jekyll and Hyde personality that characterises so many sportsmen – as hard as nails on the pitch, but gentle, modest and quiet off it.
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