Pierre Berbizier

The Strategist

"When I became French coach in 1991 after the world cup, I knew France had discipline problems in the team which were not in keeping with the image we wanted to project. So I told the press I would sort these problems out. Two weeks later we played England in the 5 nations in 1992 and I had to eat my words as both Moscato and Lascubé were both sent off! It was a nightmare!"

Pierre was a brilliant player, tough leader and very effective strategist. Finlay Calder said he was the best scrum half he played against, able to dictate play and the rhythm of a match, and one of the first to really understand how to bring his back row into play to get over the gain line. We all think of him as a player from Agen, which indeed he was, but he is a man of the mountains and his heart is still there. He was the only player who insisted that I put him in the Mountains section of the book, not in the Basque country where he currently resides or the South West where he spent so much of his career. We met at the mythical Stade Jean Dauger in Bayonne and spent 2 hours discussing his glory days as a player, the team politics which still exist, his business career and modern rugby’s challenges.

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