Louisou Armary

The Iron Man

“I remember those test matches in 1990 against Australia well. The Australian hooker, Phil Kearns, nicked the ball a few times against the head so I gave him a little head but. In France, you never nicked the opposition ball like that, you had more respect for the opposition! It all kicked off in those tests – Condom and FitzSimons, Benazzi and the whole Australian pack, Gallart and Sella. It was good old fashioned rugby and a bit of fun and no one got hurt!”

Armary may be one of the lesser known players as there was fierce competition in his position of prop and hooker. But he went to three world cups and won 47 caps. He lived in a village near Argeles-Gazost where I was staying so we met at his house, a cosy village dwelling on a hill with magnificent views across the valley. We chatted next to the wood fire and sipped a beer, before heading to a local restaurant for lunch. He is now an elected politician extending his charm and wonderfully good nature across the community. We talked for three hours about his upbringing, the rugby fraternity and what it was like playing with Jean Pierre Garuet at the mythical Lourdes club.

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