IRB Hall of Fame – Induction No.80 – Nathalie Amiel (France, SFN XV Narbonnais, Saint-Orens) 1970-

Personal details

– Born: 4 November, 1970 in Beziers, France 
– Family: She is mother to two boys, aged 11 and 17
– Education: Capestang Rugby School, Languedoc Rugby Academy 

Early years

Born in the rugby hotbed of the south west of France, between the ages of 12 and 14 she attended the local rugby school in Capestang. While there, her obvious skills, rugby knowledge and passion impressed former international Olivier Saisset, at the time the head coach of the famous Beziers club. On Saisset’s recommendation she gained admission to the Languedoc Rugby Academy, where she was the only girl among several aspiring male players. 

Playing career 

– A versatile centre who could play in any position, Amiel made her international debut at the age of 15 and a half, against Great Britain in London in 1986. 
– Her 20-year club playing career was equally divided between Narbonne, where she started playing for SFN XV Narbonnais at the age of 12 in 1982, and Saint-Orens for which she played from 1992 until her retirement in 2002. 
– Amiel reached four French Championship finals with Saint-Orens, winning the title in 1993 and finishing runner-up in 1994, 1997 and 2002. 
– In 1991 she was part of the SFN XV side that won the French Cup. 
– Amiel won 56 caps in an international career that spanned 16 years, from 1986 until 2002. 
– She played in three Women's Rugby World Cups in 1991, 1994 and 2002, when France finished third. She missed the 1998 tournament but captained France in 2002, the year she led her country to the Five Nations Women’s Grand Slam. 
– She was a member of the French team who won the European FIRA-AER Championship in 1988, 1996, 1999 and 2000. They were runners-up in 1995. 

Coaching 

– Amiel qualified as a professional rugby coach and was appointed head coach of Saint-Orens Rugby Club in 2003. 
– 2006-12: Coach of Quint-Fonsegrives senior men’s team. 
– 2006-09: Head coach of France A. 
–  2012: Appointed head of rugby at Capestang Rugby School. 
– A member of the France women's coaching set-up since 2009, initially as assistant coach when Les Bleues finished fourth at WRWC 2010. She took over as head coach in 2014 and led France to the Six Nations Grand Slam and then third place at the Women's Rugby World Cup on home soil.

Other achievements

– Decorated with the National Order of Merit