I’m pretty sure rock guitarist and song writer Gary Moore was not a follower of French rugby, but his lyrics to Parisienne Walkways were the theme to my first ever trip to Paris to see Wales at the Parc des Princes in 1979, those were the days when France were France, they could combine breathtaking beauty and spine chilling thuggery in equal measure, and often in the same move.
An awful lot of water has passed under Pont Neuf since then, and these days Gary’s composition “Still got the blues” seems a much more appropriate theme.
“It used to be so easy to give my heart away”
“But I found out the hard way there’s a price you have to pay”
Indeed it was so easy to give my heart away to Serge, Phillipe, Denis and co, and it was the fab three Blanco, Sella and Charvet, that seduced me with their flair, style, elegance and angles of running that would have even had Pythagoras purring.
With their collars turned up against the warm Parisian spring sunshine, these players made rugby Sexy, they had a swagger and a confidence, and a sheer joy that translated onto the field of play.
France could also provide a more earthy kind of love if that was your preference, in the form of Cholley, Paparemborde and Condom, yes Jean Condom (who never practised safe rugby), but for pure romance it was always the numbers neuf to quinze.
The years that we thought would last forever somehow faded ,we were left with warm memories, and although we had glimpses of romantic reconciliations they were few and far between, the holiday romance of RWC 1999 was short and sweet as Bernat-Salles, Dominici and Lamaison seduced us, all too briefly, once more.
“So many years since I’ve seen your face here in my heart there’s an empty space”
The world of rugby moved on and big became beautiful, but still every now and then the beauty shone past the beast in the form of Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana and more recently Teddy Thomas, but sadly French rugby occupied the region even lower than the doldrums, and confidence and flair failed to bloom in those dark nether regions.
“You’re playing to win but you lose just the same”
We can still dream that some way, some how, in the land of the rising scrum, the emptiness can be at least partially filled by the new Romantics Dupont, Penaud and Ntmack, maybe the time is right for another holiday romance .
“Though the days come and go, there is one thing I know, I’ve still got the blues for you”