France’s willingness to play with ball in hand and attack from deep was typified in the 1980s by their charismatic full-back Serge Blanco, who had a record 93 caps to his name at the time of his retirement, 17 of them as captain.
Blanco’s brilliance was evident in France’s Grand Slams of 1981 and 1987 as well as four further Five Nations titles. In 1991, his international swansong season, Blanco instigated the move which led to Philippe Saint-Andre’s length of the field score, arguably the finest try ever scored at Twickenham.
Venezuelan-born Blanco scored plenty of tries himself too, 38 in tests, but none were more important than the Rugby World Cup 1987 semi-final match-winner against Australia at the Concord Oval in Sydney.
On retiring, Blanco became president of Biarritz, the club he served his entire playing career, and is a former president of the Ligue Nationale de Rugby, the governing body of French club rugby.
There are matches that stay with you forever, that send you off the pitch with an enormous sense of satisfaction, no matter what the result. - Serge Blanco