Stade Francais beat FC Lezignan in hybrid

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By Matt_S, Matt_S is a Roar Rookie

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    On a balmy Wednesday afternoon, among the vineyards of the Corbieres commune in the Aude Valley, a most unlikely cross-code challenge occured in Rugby, a ‘Treize heartland.

    The town of Lezignan welcomed union giants Stade Francais in a pre-season training initiative with FC Lezignan, current holders of the Elite Rugby League Championship.

    Aurelien Cologni’s FC Lezignan had the advantage, with the game being played according to 13 man rules but somewhat modified for their union guests with the game played over three 20 minute sessions and with a five metre advantage rule.

    Nearly 5,000 spectators packed the ancient but atmospheric Stade Du Moulin to see their green and white heroes battle the ‘pink invaders’ from the country’s capital, Paris.

    The final score fell in favour of Stade Francais 32-28, but was not surprising given the Stade Francais playing roster is worth close to 20 million euros compared to FC Lezignan’s modest 800 thousand euro squad, which was also packed with the club’s juniors and two retired players.

    It was great to see the two codes collaborate the way they did in a country that has not always had the Treizistes and Quinzistes seeing eye to eye.

    No doubt Stade Francais and any union supporter who made the journey to Lezignan would have been impressed a crowd half the size of the town turned out to welcome them.

    Though used to playing before bigger crowds, they would have been shown a glimpse of old fashioned sport as it was before the big money changed the face of their game in France forever.

    This is something rugby league in France has yet to experience, apart from the Catalan Dragons who play in the English Super League.

    It will be a challenge for the game to ensure a balance of tradition and involvement of the ‘village’ clubs continue at a high level if and when bigger city investment and clubs ever come along.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (38)

    • July 29th 2011 @ 2:15am
      chris said | July 29th 2011 @ 2:15am | ! Report

      God never heard about that one.

    • July 29th 2011 @ 9:37am
      steve said | July 29th 2011 @ 9:37am | ! Report

      Did any of Stades first team players play, because i think most of them would have been away with their respective countries world cup training squad, there would have been a couple of aussies playing i think david lyons and morgan turinui that would have been fun to see.

      • July 29th 2011 @ 10:31am
        kovana said | July 29th 2011 @ 10:31am | ! Report

        “Stade Francais beat FC Lezignan in hybrid”

        I thought it was all RL rules.. with the offside line being 5M instead of 10m.

        • Roar Guru

          July 29th 2011 @ 9:49pm
          GrecoRoman said | July 29th 2011 @ 9:49pm | ! Report

          a French RL fan posted this on an RL forum:

          “it wasn’t a bad game, stade francais were too quick at the beginning of the match, it was 24 6 after 20 mins to sf, the 5 metre defence helped them and also changing the full team every 10 mins!!

          luckily for lezignan they also changed the ref every 20 mins, the 1st ref let everything go, and then the second a little more strict around the ruck allowing lezignan to get up to speed around the play the ball,

          the 3rd ref seemed to forget the 5 metre rule and started taking the teams back 10 metres which tired out stade francais and allowed lezignan to room to play,

          i was quite impressed by the lezignan junior players(8 in the team)

          you could see the difference in the 2 teams in the backs, every time the stade francais backs accelarated they caused alot of damage,

          it would have been intersting to see the 2 teams with all their stars but you can’t have everything.

          it was funny to see the stade francais in their training body protectors, looked like 13 michelin men on the field!!!

          it was good game with a massive crowd, but the silence in the first 20 minutes from the crowd was deafening!!!”

      • July 29th 2011 @ 9:35pm
        Bakkies said | July 29th 2011 @ 9:35pm | ! Report

        Paul Warwick who is an Aussie scored two tries for Paris

    • July 29th 2011 @ 10:58am
      Matt S said | July 29th 2011 @ 10:58am | ! Report

      Sorry Kovana, that was not my headline I think.

      Yes, it was under rugby league rules. I think the Stad Francais squad was not at full strength either but still quite a few million euros worth more than lezignan who were also way under strength.

      But that’s not the point. It is great to see both codes collaborate in this pre-season initiative and to see Stad Francais see the worth of training with rugby league to improve their skills, chances, what ever you like to call it.

      Rugby league in France is clawing its way back on the French sporting landscape and this is recognition of one of the leading clubs in their domestic rugby league. Lezignan are showing the rest of French league clubs the way forward and was quite a coup in attracting a leading union club.

      • Roar Guru

        July 29th 2011 @ 9:52pm
        GrecoRoman said | July 29th 2011 @ 9:52pm | ! Report

        Seems like a glorified training run. Both clubs were without a host of players. Apparently quite a few of the Lezignan players are in Oz right now and they’ve only just started pre-season back in France. Apparently somebody from Lezignan has been brought in as a consultant to SF and since Cheika is from Sydney and would be well aware of RL’s strengths he didn’t object to having this scratch match.

    • July 29th 2011 @ 3:49pm
      m1tch said | July 29th 2011 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

      Great this game happened as Matt mentions above, would love to see each NRL club have a junior french player in their squads and develop them for either NRL or SuperLeague/French rugby league

      • Roar Guru

        July 29th 2011 @ 10:00pm
        GrecoRoman said | July 29th 2011 @ 10:00pm | ! Report

        Have been reading the fans forum for Stade regarding this match. There appears to be a great deal of respect for the abilities of the League players:

        • Roar Guru

          July 29th 2011 @ 10:04pm
          GrecoRoman said | July 29th 2011 @ 10:04pm | ! Report

          According to that, SF had some big names playing in their team – Dupuy, Arias, Rabadan, ex-wallabies David Lyons, Morgan Turinui as well.

    • July 29th 2011 @ 3:54pm
      Working Class Rugger said | July 29th 2011 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

      It was very much a 2nd string Stade as most of their first team ( reserves included) are currently busy preparing for the RWC. Not a bad result considering Stade who finished mid table of the Top 14 this season knocked over the French RL Champions.

      • July 29th 2011 @ 5:30pm
        Matt S said | July 29th 2011 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

        Working class rugger, the Stad team did include 3 internationals. Weather they are current or not, not sure. The lezignan team included 9 of their junior players and two retired players. So, champions in name only.

        • Roar Guru

          July 29th 2011 @ 9:55pm
          GrecoRoman said | July 29th 2011 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

          I posted some comments from a poster on a RL forum above. Seems everything about the match was a hybrid. I don’t think this is being marketed in the same way the Bath-Wigan matches were back in the mid 90’s.

    • July 29th 2011 @ 4:03pm
      kovana said | July 29th 2011 @ 4:03pm | ! Report

      SF have been demoted havent they WCR?

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