FLASHBACK: December 1959

DECEMBER 1959.
FRENCH Rugby League legend, Puig Aubert lambasted France’s pack for not dominating their Australian rivals, as the touring Kangaroos won the Second Test, and the series with a 17-2 result at Stade du Park Lescure, Bordeaux.
Aubert said his 1951 pack, which led the way in a series win over Australia, in Australia, would have destroyed the 1959 Kangaroos.
He told Abel Michea, from Miroir-Sprint 707, that the 1959 Australian forwards would have been no match for the likes of Louis Mazon, Paul Bartoletti, Eli Brousse and Edouard Ponsinet.
“Playing in my era, their (the Australian) forwards would have to retire to the changing rooms, and well before the final whistle,” said Aubert, who was France’s Sports Star of the Year in 1949.
Michea wrote that a lot had been expected of the French pack at Bordeaux.
“They held their own for long periods, but it was all done passively, like a dyke which holds back the flood, until it crumbles,” he wrote. “It’s true that Marcel Bescos, Serge Tonus and Andre Casas showed plenty of courage under fire, but when they faded, the French team went to pieces.”
Australia led only 7-2 with 10 minutes left, but tries to five eighth, Johnny Raper and then winger, Brian Carlson, sealed France’s fate.
Former France rugby union captain, Jean Barthe rattled Australia with long passes, but a loose pass gifted Raper his try.
Another former union player, Claude Mantoulan at fullback, kicked brilliantly in general play, but was guilty of ‘tackling lapses’.
The Australian pack, which Aubert suggested was not tough enough to withstand his band of 1951 warriors, was: Props, Billy Wilson (St George) and Dud Beattie (Ipswich Railways); hooker, Ian Walsh (Eugowra); second rowers, Gary Parcell (Ipswich Brothers), Brian Hambly (Wagga Magpies); lock, Brian ‘Poppa’ Clay (St George).
Pic: Action from the 1959 Bordeaux Test. (With thanks to Roger Grime and his excellent book, ‘Still Crowing’).

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