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Serge Blanco
Personal information
Date of birth 31 August 1958 (1958-08-31) (age 51)
Place of birth Caracas, Venezuela
Occupation(s) President: Biarritz Olympique
Owner of Groupe Serge Blanco
Partner of Quinze Serge Blanco
Administration council of Biarritz Olympique
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Fullback or wing
Clubs
1974-1992 Biarritz Olympique
correct as of 2007-03-05.
National team(s) Caps (points)
1980-1991  France 93 (233)
correct as of 2007-03-05.

Serge Blanco (born 31 August 1958 in Caracas, Venezuela) is a former rugby union footballer who played fullback for Biarritz Olympique and the French national side, gaining 93 caps, 81 of them at fullback. His alternative position was wing.

Blanco was born in Caracas to a Venezuelan father and a Basque mother, but was raised in Biarritz, France. He made his international debut against South Africa at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on 8 November 1980, which France lost 37-15.

His elegant running style, creativity and inventive spirit epitomised the flamboyance for which French rugby is admired. Blanco is considered one of France's greatest players and also one of the best fullbacks in rugby history. He owes his popularity also to his fair conduct on the field.

Contents

Career

Sydney became the venue of his career highlight, where he scored the late and deciding try in the epic semi-final France won 30-24 in dramatic fashion against host Australia in the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.[1] Second to this achievement was winning Grand Slams with France in the Five Nations Championship in 1981 and 1987.

Blanco was a threat from anywhere on the field and would often take risks in running the ball from any position on the pitch. He famously initiated a move from behind his own try line that resulted in a wondrous try by Philippe Saint-André in the 1991 Grand Slam decider at Twickenham. In 1990 against Australia he collected the ball on his tryline down the blindside after a French scrum. Blistering pace, and a dummy saw him run the entire length of the pitch to score, famously tying the legendary David Campese in knots as he attempted to tackle Blanco as he neared the Australian try line. Although not known as a great defending fullback in the mould of JPR Williams or Gavin Hastings, Blanco was a dependable defender. However, this aspect of his game was overshadowed by his awesome attacking potential, the likes of which was not seen again until Christian Cullen burst onto the scene.

Serge Blanco captained the French side in the 1991 Rugby World Cup before retiring after their quarter-final defeat by England on 19 October 1991, when he punched Nigel Heslop. He won a total of 93 caps (a record at the time) and still holds the record for the most tries scored for France (38). Throughout his career he was considered a fitness fanatic and despite being known to smoke up to 75 cigarettes a day (which is also stated in Rugby World issue 577, pg. 111), he was nonetheless one of the most athletic members of the star-studded French national team. One unfulfilled ambition of his, other than not winning a world championship with France, was failing to win the national championship with his club Biarritz Olympique, despite making a final appearance in 1992.[2] This match against Toulon was his last first-class rugby union match. In 1997 Serge Blanco was among the inaugural set of rugby players inducted into the International Rugby Hall of Fame.

After retiring as a player, he continued serving Biarritz Olympique as their president. In this function he saw his club become French champions in 2002 and 2006.[2] He was president of France's national professional league, Ligue Nationale de Rugby, until December 2008.[3] Outside of rugby he is also a successful businessman owner of 3 hotels and his own brand of sportswear.

In March 2009 he suffered a heart attack but recovered after surgery.[4]

See also

References and notes

  • Bath, Richard (ed.) The Complete Book of Rugby (Seven Oaks Ltd, 1997 ISBN 1 86200 013 3)

External links

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