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15 May 2015
Recently I had a couple of days spent in the county of Warwickshire in England and while cruising around there was one place on the map a bloke like me could not avoid. But surprisingly in the town of Rugby I found so much more than the obvious which caught the eye.
Yes the famous Rugby school is still going strong and there numerous reverences to William Webb Ellis in pubs and cafes and bars but I liked all the other 'ordinary' stuff too. Like the names of shops and signs and the town's daily services. This pic is just one I saw for a souvenir snapshot...and a good one it is I feel!
On this day New Zealand did beat USA 34-3 in Marcoussis, France but other results saw the Black Fern's great run at the previous four Rugby World Cups come to an end.
Toulouse, Saracens, Gloucester, Auckland and France
72 internationals for France 1994-2007
A powerful, worldly member of the French forward pack through the late years of the 1990s and into the new millennium. At his best there was none who could better this hard-scrummaging prop forward and strong runner about the field. Which is ironic because he began his rugby as an overweight charger with little finesse. It was only after joining the Toulouse club that he fined down into a top rated forward who caught his national selector’s eye.
The thing about Califano is that while he was anchoring his club to three successive French club championship titles as a loosehead prop he was making his early presence as an international player as a tighthead. He had made his debut in France’s epic victories in New Zealand in 1994 when he played as part of a French front row against New Zealand’s redoubtable trio of Sean Fitzpatrick, Richard Loe and Craig Dowd.
Later Califano switched to his preferred loosehead as his test career blossomed and it was from that position that he went to South Africa in 1995 for the Rugby World Cup. He was also in the French team in 1999’s cup though by then back problems and the rise of new young French ‘bulls’ in the front row halted consistent progress.
After 1999 he traveled to New Zealand and had two seasons in Auckland playing in the Super 12 series.
His ability as a running, handling prop forward was never better exemplified than in 1996 when he scored three tries in one game against Romania. Has any test prop anywhere in the world bettered this? I doubt it.
In 2003 his career seemed over but he was recalled for several more games in 2007.
Who said; 'Rugby League is a simple game played by simple people. Rugby Union is a complex game played by wankers?'