The Barbarian Football Club

The next England Students game was against France Students at Toulose University. As an impoverished student, the experiences of this weekend were remarkable. Imagine a weekend where you stay overnight in a top hotel in London, before flying to Toulouse to play a student international; you have a night out and then board a plane to go to see France v England in the Parc de Prince in the afternoon, sample the Parisian underworld in the evening, before boarding another plane to fly back to London to play in a Saints XV against a New Zealand XV at Franklins Gardens. I may not have been paid to play rugby back then, but I would pay good money to do this now.

Before the student international we stayed in Ramonville, in the southern part of Toulouse, in the Hotel Le Relais. It is traditional for the opposition to stay in a different hotel, but not for this match. I love France and particularly the food, but sadly we were not extended the same eating privileges as our student counterparts. Whilst we sat down with the team to eat a set menu, the main course of which was chicken that looked like it had been cooked with a hair dryer, we were able to glimpse, in an adjacent room, the sumptuous banquet that had been prepared for our opponents.


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