Patrick Esteve

The Professor

"Rugby doesn’t tolerate collective or emotional mediocrity. If you don’t love each other or operate as a team, you’ll never succeed. As soon as the media and money are involved, you forget your values and what makes you successful. It is a very hard sport and you have to stick together."

I tracked ‘Flint’ down via Didier Codorniou as they were very close team mates at Narbonne, and would regularly room together on tour. We met in February 2018 at a cosy little restaurant in the quaint town of Foix in the Pyrenees near Lavelanet where he started his rugby career. He is a funny, very intelligent and articulate man, regaling me with stories from 30 years ago. As I was leaving 4 hours later, having drank a lot of wine and rum and a terrifying chilli sauce which they use on drunk locals to sober them up, he said to me: "David, obviously most of the stories I’ve told you aren’t for public consumption. What goes on tour stays on tour!"

I had the fortune of meeting him again at the end of August at Les Rencontres en Seronnais, organised by the great Henri Nayrou as a celebration of rugby and its fraternity. We smoked cigars and drank wine as he entertained me some more and provoked me with stories about the annoying English. Bon dieu, what a character and brave mec.

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