Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Strange but true

Another piece of fascinating (sic) rugby miscellany which rises to the surface of this blog from time to time...

According to legend, French rugby player Gaston Vareilles contrived to miss his international debut against Scotland in 1910 thanks to the lure of a sandwich.

When his team's train stopped at Lyon en route to Paris, Monsieur Vareilles decided to hop out to the buffet. Unfortunately, however, the queue at the caféteria was rather long and he returned to the the platform, sandwhich in hand, to find the train disappearing over the horizon.

Vareille was replaced in the French team that day by sprinter André Franquenelle (who had turned up as a spectator) and was never selected to play for France again. Franquenelle, meanwhile, won two more caps for France.

3 comments:

Frederic Humbert said...

Hey, hey... some French rugby miscellany there...

May I correct some details of this - overall - true story ?

First, this France v Scotland was in 1911... it's no less than the very first victory of France in the international arena(to be honest, the Scots were exhausted after a long a difficult journey ; and they didn't bring some of their best players as the game was played on a Monday...)

Franquenelle - a sprinter, but a true rugby player however (later coach of ASM in Clermont) - was scheduled as a subsitute but also missed the train to Colombes stadium and arrived late, after the kick off...

The spectator was a third gentleman, a player from Bordeaux, who indeed started to remove his army uniform to play... when Franquenelle eventually arrived... cf this cartoon about that story!

Charles - not Gaston... - Vareilles was a talented winger of Stade Français (my faves !)... I've once found an old, damaged but nostalgic picture of him in 1905 ( picture ) that I like very much... he's wearing a red gallic "rooster" on the chest... i.e. the very first apparition of this symbol on a French jersey... that day, March 1905, a French team played (and lost) vs Bective Rangers of Dublin... (the jersey looks better on on this modern repro - by my friend Benoit @ http://www.sports-depoque.com )

Total Flanker said...

So, apart from the facts, I got the story absolutely correct?

Perhaps there's a career in journalism for me yet!

Frederic Humbert said...

who really cares about the facts if the story is fine... !!