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The local Illawarra team played the All Blacks and a young New Zealander called Colin Meads, aged 20, made his AB debut. 15 seasons later he retired as one of the greats!
Racing Club de France, Chalon and France
43 internationals for France 1953–61
A stylish French fullback who became that country’s most-capped last line of defence, Michel Vannier was a gifted runner who was also blessed with a calm assurance. He played in three French teams which won the Five Nations Championship and was a member of the great French team which went to South Africa in 1958 and won the test series.
Vannier first came into the French international side in 1953 against Wales, in Paris. He had an unhappy day but held his place for the internationals of the next season. He steadily built up his tally of caps over the next five seasons. He was an excellent goal-kicker and had a sure touch with a drop-kick. In the end he totaled 175 points in international matches.
Vannier was most unfortunate that a serious knee injury forced him to miss the tests in South Africa in 1958. He missed all of 1959’s international matches but was back in 1960, a comeback that was highly acclaimed and popular with the rugby followers of France.
His last international was in Australia at the end of the French tour there and to New Zealand in 1961. His form on tour had not been as impressive as before, but his total of caps won had reached 43. The mark stood as a French record until the great Serge Blanco passed it in 1987.
After the finish of the 2011 Rugby World Cup who were the youngest and oldest players from all countries to win a World Cup medal 1987-2011?