1. Excellent work, as good as any tighthead in the tight. Someone told me they were Daniel Dubrocca and Ondarts but on the evidence above Ondarts is at least right. Think I’m right in saying Ondarts now owns a bar in Biarritz which was visited by Ulster fans on a regular basis during the last tour there. Any photos of these guys?

    My most frightening Irish player – Neil Francis? Only joking. Can’t think of anyone over the last 3 decades on a par with some of the gentlemen mentioned above!!!! champ if I remember right was no angel either.

  2. Tighthead Prod on

    The photograph could be the one referred to in number 7 of Stephen Jones’ article as the LHP – Ondarts – is sporting a bloody nose and Champ is on the flank. Details of the match are:

    The match is All Black Test : 922nd All Black Game

    New Zealand vs France at La Beaujoire Stadium
    Nantes, France
    Saturday, 3 November 1990

    Fulltime – New Zealand 24, France 3
    Halftime – New Zealand 18, France 3
    Attendance – 42000
    Conditions – Weather fine, ground slightly slippery
    Referee – A. R. MacNeil (New South Wales, Australia)
    Head to Head – All Blacks vs France
    1 P. Ondarts
    2 L. Armary
    3 L. Seigne replaced by Marocco
    6 E. Champ
    4 A. Benazzi
    5 O. Roumat
    7 E. Melville
    8 L. Rodriguez

    Full details of match are at

  3. It’s looking like Ondarts (prop) and Seigne (hooker) from the first test against New Zealand in 1990. Good spot THP.

    Loved the piece above, but who would be your “Top 10 Most Frightening Irishmen” – not as easy as it sounds as we spent so many years as “plucky” Ireland.

    I’ll start the ball rolling with W.J.McBride but more for the Lions in South Africa rather than Ireland.

  4. I think the Prop maybe Pascal Ondarts but am not 100 per cent sure. ?? Louis Armary

    Found this article when I was googling for info on Ondatrts and thought it would be of interest to FRU members of a certrain age. I remember hearing a story about how Gerard Cholley’s potentail as future international prop was first identified. Allegedly he was in the French Navy and was observed ”laying out” allcomers in a fight in a bar in the French Naval Port of Toulon

    From The Sunday TimesMarch 12, 2006

    The top 10 frightening Frenchmen
    1 Gerard Cholley (1975-79) Le Guv’nor. The baddest man ever, Cholley was frightening. In his playing days, he weighed in at 19st. These days he demolishes the scales at nearly 24st. A former heavyweight boxer, his career was a gory legend — he once laid out four Scots in the same match. Cholley believes that rugby today is soft. “There is no fear in rugby any more.”
    2 Alain Esteve (1971-75) “The Beast of Beziers” was a forbidding heavy-bearded giant of 6ft 8in. Bobby Windsor, the Wales hooker, frequently came up against him. “When we packed down, I’d hear him say, ‘Bob-bee, Bob-bee’ and then this big fist would come through and smack you in the chops. To get my own back I booted him in the mush as hard as I could. He got up and gave me a wink.”

    3 Pascal Ondarts (1986-91) He had the lot. He was a ferocious, iron-willed, tempestuous Basque. His first cap set the tone: he played with a ferocity that could not be tamed in the Battle of Nantes, when France beat New Zealand in 1986, a match in which All Black captain Wayne Shelford suffered a torn scrotum.

    4 Marc Cecillon (1988-95) Cecillon, a powerhouse in the back row, did not adapt well after retirement, when his famous aggression no longer had an outlet. In 2004 he shot dead his wife, Chantel, at a party near Bourgoin. He is in jail awaiting trial. He told police that such was his level of intoxication, he could recall nothing of the incident.

    5 Vincent Moscato (1991-92) Moscato, a hooker, played with crop-haired menace and was sent off in a foul match against England at Parc des Princes in 1992, along with Gregoire Lascube. He never played for France again and went on, in Vinnie Jones style, to become a hard man of the silver screen.

    6 Armand Vaquerin (1971-1980) Another Beziers giant, Vaquerin played throughout the 1970s as a typically fierce French front-rower, but, as with Cecillon, it was his life after rugby which brought more notoriety, and tragedy. In 1993, Vaquerin shot himself while playing Russian roulette in a bar in Beziers.

    7 Laurent Seigne (1989-95) Photographs taken of the French front row, Pascal Ondarts, Laurent Seigne and Louis Armary, for the 1990 match against New Zealand appeared to show that they had bleeding cuts to the nose. Nothing noteworthy in that, except that the photographs were taken before the game. It is claimed that in an attempt to wind themselves up they had butted one another. Even when he became a coach, Seigne’s novel motivational ideas continued. He once punched Gregory Kacala, the Brive flanker, because he felt that Kacala was too slow to anger on the field.

    8 Claude Dourthe (1966-75) Dourthe may have been a mere back, but as one Wales captain recalls: “He would hit you high and late when his temper got the better of him.” Dourthe and his son Richard, who is also a French international back, have a place in history — they are the only father and son to have both been sent off in international rugby.

    9 Fabien Pelous (1995-) Pelous was suspended in November for elbowing Australia’s Brendan Cannon. But you could tell that his heart was not in the villainy. Here we have the modern French forward: fit, disciplined — and dull. He has 105 caps and gained next to no notoriety. Shame on him.

    10 Michel Palmie (1975-78) The massive Palmie was an arch enforcer. In 1978, he was banned for punching Armand Clerc in a club game. Clerc lost some of his sight in the attack. Palmie never played for France again, but was he drummed out of the sport full stop? Not quite. He went on to become an official in the French Rugby Federation.

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