An Introduction to Retro France Rugby League T-Shirt
This Retro France Rugby League T-Shirt is produced by Ellis Rugby. It is inspired by the great France Rugby League teams from the history of the game.
The 1955 France Rugby League test series saw Australia comfortably win the first test in Sydney on the 11th June 1955 by 20 points to 8. The second test resulted in a dramatic victory by France 29 points to 28 at The Gabba in Brisbane. One test all, it was now down to the third and final test on the 23rd July 1955 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
France had lost Scrum Half Claude Teisseire through a knee injury. So moved the versatile Christian Duplé, normally a loose forward into the half back role. Star winger Raymond Contrastin was back to full fitness and took his place in the starting line-up. Avignon’s Jacques Fabre in tremendous form in the tour matches drafted in at Prop forward. And Catalan Francis Levy took over at loose forward from Duplé.
Australia kept faith with the pack of forwards selected for the second test. Keith Holman and Graham Laird also retained at half back. However, changes were made in the three quarters. Ross Kite and Dennis Flannery on the wings with Dick Poole and Alex Watson making up a new centre combination. The great Clive Churchill was also retained at full back.
Torrential Rain at the Sydney Cricket Ground
Torrential rain made the Sydney Cricket Ground in to a mud bath. This suited the big Australian pack and after seven minutes second row forward Brian Davies crossed to give the hosts a perfect start. However, following a few uncharacteristic errors France through Benausse, Merquey and Rey began show the attacking skills that worried the Kangaroos defence. Following slick handling by Rey, Duplé and Benausse, they released the powerful winger Raymond Contrastin who went over in the corner to equal the scores. Clive Churchill restored Australia’s lead with a penalty goal just before the half time break.
In the second half, the Kangaroos continued with their attritional play. But the French managed to hold out with some exceptional last ditch tackling. Then, France exploded with some more slick handling. Merquey found the initial gap before releasing Rey who in turn passed to Duplé. He jinked past Kite and Churchill. But he saw Davies tracking across and managed to unload to the supporting Ducasse to cross for a memorable try. The atrocious conditions made kicking extremely difficult and Gilbert Benausse put his conversion wide. France led by a single point 6-5.
Heroic Defence holds out for France Rugby League
With only 15 minutes left, France were awarded a penalty. Benausse had lost his confidence, so the stand-in scrum half Christian Duplé took over. His perfectly executed kick sailed between the uprights moving France 8 points to 5 ahead. In the closing minutes Australia threw everything at France, but the heroic defence held firm. The tense atmosphere became intolerable for Coach Antoine Blain He couldn’t watch the final few minutes and moved from the main stand down to the empty dressing room. Where he sat with his head in his hands.
One final desperate attack saw Australia hoist a high ‘up-and-under’. The forwards followed hoping for a mistake that would give them the winning try. There was a scramble for the ball and the Bordeaux winger André Ducasse emerged in possession as the final hooter sounded for the end of the game. France had done it, beaten Australia and they returned back to Europe with the Goodwill Trophy and proclaimed Champions of the World.
Rugby League Cares and Manufacturing
With every sale, Rugby League Cares receives donations that help players’ transition out of the sport. Also, it supports players’ past and present who are enduring poor health or hardship.
Manufactured from satin touch 100% cotton, the Ellis Rugby Vintage France Rugby League T-Shirt features a France crest in the form of a detailed applique. Also included on this garment is herringbone detail on the side vents, tape on the neck opening and a decorative woven label.