"The opportunity to play with players like Serge Blanco, Philippe Sella and Laurent Rodriguez was a gift from the Gods. Serge was so strong and fast, and you couldn’t see him accelerate so it took me time to get used to playing with him; Philippe had everything – pace, power, skill, technique; and Laurent was a force of nature with pace to burn. The combinations and moves which Serge, Philippe and I did were the happiest and most enjoyable moments of my career."
I couldn’t get hold of Patrice and asked Serge to help me. So over a long, sumptuous lunch at his restaurant, he called him. Serge’s conversation went something like this: “I am with an English guy... yes, he therefore has a lot of faults... but he is a top man... [laughs]… lots of love…"
The platform was set for me to meet the Bayonne Express even though he also spent a number of years playing for Biarritz. He was just how I expected him to be – physically in great shape and sporting fine, chiselled features. Of mind he was razor sharp and a very intelligent and articulate man with a wonderful spirit and heart. His sporting, playing and charitable career impressed me hugely, as did his recollection of events and detail. We spent a couple of hours chatting about his career, charity work, family, friends and the stresses of coaching France with his mate Philippe Saint André.
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