FLASHBACK: October 1953


Australian, Brian Bevan was the dazzling star of Other Nationalties’ 15-10 win over France at Stade du Park Lescure, Bordeaux in a European championship match, played in front of a crowd of 12,190, who paid four million francs at the gate.

‘Miroir des Sports’ described Bevan as ‘pure magic’, with his zig zagging runs leaving defenders clutching at thin air.

Bevan, originally from Bondi in Sydney and contracted to Warrington in England, scored two tries, his second changing the course of the game when the French appeared to be getting on top.

His first try involved a run which started on the right side of the field and finished in the left corner.

Kiwi, Ribertson scored the winning try with five minutes left.

Other Nationalities, coming off a 30-5 win over Wales, wee best served by Bevan; former All Blacks fullback, Joe Phillips and young lock, Dave Valentine from the Scots border town of Hawick.

France’s superstar fullback, Puig Aubert was a little below his best, but contributed two long range goals, and directed his teammates with precision.

Diminutive centre, Claude Teisseire, was dynamic with the ball in hand, while halfback, Joseph Crespo, another hero of France’s series win in Australia in 1951, was the architect of the most dangerous attacking moves of the match. Rene Bernard from Albi, whose selection had been questioned in the media, had a great game, with powerful runs and deadly tackling.

TEAMS: FRANCE; Puig Aubert (c) (XIII Catalan); Raymond Contrastin (Bordeaux), Andrew Carrere (Bordeaux), Claude Teisseire (Carcassonne), Maurice Voron (Lyons); Jackie Merquey (Marseilles), Joseph Crespo (Lyons); Francois Rinaldi (Marseilles), Jean Auduobert (Lyons), Irenee Carrere (Villeneuve-sur-Lot), Rene Bernard (Albi), Edouard Ponsinet (Leizignan), Roger Guilhem (Carcassonne). Notice how most of the players came from clubs based in big cities like Bordeaux, Lyons and Marseilles. This is one of the weaknesses of the current French game. The powerful clubs from the big centres, have gone.

OTHER NATIONALITIES: Joe Phillips (Bradford Northern/New Zealand); Brian Bevan (Warrington, Australia), Tony Paskins (Workington Town/Aust); Tom Lynch (Halifax/NZ); Lionel Cooper (Huddersfield/Aust); Robinson (York), Neville Black (Keighley/NZ); George Wilson (Workington/Scotland), Ellean (Rochdale), Rupert Mudge (Workington/Aust), Arthur Clues (Leeds/Aust), Rex Mossop (Leigh/Aust), Dave Valentine (c), (Huddersfield/Scotland). Phillips, Lynch, Black, Wilson, Mossop and Valentine, were ex rugby union players.

Referee: Charlie Appleton, Warrington, England.

With thanks to Roger Grime from St Helens, author of the excellent book: ‘Still Crowing’, which covers France’s Test campaigns 1951-60. First names of Other Nationalities players, Robinson and Ellean are missing, along with their nationalities. Any help, will be gratefully acknowledged.

Photo: France line up at Bordeaux.

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