French Rugby League officials left Hilton Park, Leigh in England full of confidence about the future, despite France’s 32-19 loss to a star-studded Other Nationalities side, in a European Championship match.
“There was no disgrace in losing,” said French League Secretary-General, Antoine Blain. “Our lads did very well, and we feel sure we have planned for the future.”
Just a few months earlier France had beaten Australia 2-1 in a Test series in Australia, and had drawn the series with the Kiwis 1-1. Some of the top performers from that tour, men like Jean Dop, Jacques Merquey, Vincent Cantoni and Raymond Contrastin, were unavailable for the Other Nationalities’ clash.
There were four Test debutants in Leigh – Jean Rouqueirol (Avignon), Guy Cardona (Carpentras), Ernest Tarozzi (Villeneuve-sur-Lot) and Louis Poletti (Carcassonne). French superstar, Puig Aubert, who missed the Antipodes tour through injury, also was unavailable.
Writing in Miroir des Sports, Renaud de Laborderie, said no-one believed the French could match the Other Nationalities three quarter line of Welshman, Billy Boston (Wigan); ex-All Black, Tom Lynch (Halifax); Welshman, Lewis Jones (Leeds)) and Australian, Brian Bevan (Warrington).
“But both teams cooked up a feast of attacking rugby,” he wrote. “Every square yard was exploited, every angle, every chink so that the crowd could hardly make out the white ball, as it fizzed from man to man, in magical handling moves.”
Boston and fellow Welshman, Bryn Goldswain, a PE teacher from Oldham, scored two tries each for Other Nationalities (also referred to as an Empire XIII), with Bevan, Lynch, Welshman, Ray Price (Warrington) and Australian, Harry Bath (Warrington) also getting across the line. Jones kicked four goals.
France’s tries were scored by Claude Teisseire (Carcasssonne), Roger Rey (Lyons) and Gilbert Benausse (Toulouse), with Benausse kicking five goals.
Nicknamed ‘The Rat’, for his ability to scuttle past opponents, Teisseire, a mechanic, was a fine halfback, but also a remarkable centre. His combination with Benausse, a groundsman, was exceptional.
The referee at Hilton Park was Englishman, Charles Appleton from Warrington.
1 French winger, Andre Ducasse from Bordeaux is rounded up by Australian, Harry Bath
2 French prop, Guy Cardona from Carpentras, fires out a pass, under pressure from Welshman, Bryn Goldswain (Oldham).