The Regions

There are six chapters in the book. Five of these are regions where the players live today: Basque Country, South West, Mediterranean, Mountains and Paris. These won’t read like a tourist guide. Instead I will tell you some stories which bring them to life and give you a flavour of what they are like.

The sixth chapter is about four players who died too early: Armand Vaquerin, Pierre Lacans, Robert Paparemborde and Jacques Fouroux. Rather than simply write about them based on hearsay and internet research, I went to meet someone from their family to find out more about them.  I wanted us to celebrate their magnificence as men, sons, brothers and players. I wanted each of them in the Pantheon of greats and I had selected each one in my team. Understandably, these rendez-vous pulled very hard on our emotions.

  • Basque Country

    This region covers the North Basque country in France, such as the towns of Biarritz, Bayonne, Saint Jean de Luz and Espelette.  It is a wonderful part of France dominated by its wild Atlantic coast. The views overlooking the Bay…

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  • Loved and Lost

    There are four magnificent players and men in my squad who left this world too early. Rather than just write about them using hearsay, desktop research or quotes and insight from the other players, I went to meet someone from…

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  • Mediterranean & Provence

    This area covers a vast area of Collioure, Perpignan, Narbonne, Beziers, Montpellier, Avignon, Toulon and Port Grimaud. If I had to single out a region in France for unconditional love and adulation, this would be it. It is where my…

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  • Mountains

    This area covers both the Pyrenees and the Alps. There is a village in the foothills of the Pyrenees called Saint-Savin, near the town of Argeles-Gazost and not far from Lourdes, which encapsulates the essence of the French mountains, whether…

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  • Paris

    Culturally, Paris can seem a million miles away from the rugby-loving south where its roots are so deep, but Paris is the home of the great Parc des Princes which, to me, is so synonymous with French flair, and the…

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  • South West

    Possibly the heartland of French rugby, this region spans the area from Bordeaux to Brive to Castres to Dax, including such great rugby towns as Toulouse, Agen, Auch, Montauban and Mont de Marsan. It is a region of huge charm…

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