Former rugby players come to the Landes, where even the art is inspired by rugby


Rugby- The Landes
Rugby: an atmosphere, a culture, a shared spirit. These values need no explaining to the people of the Landes, to whom they are second nature. In the Landes conviviality is king, and the spirit of sharing is not an empty phrase. And just like rugby, the Landes and partying go well together: the love of collective celebration is very much present, and when no one tries to hog the ball, the celebrations are even better!

Maybe it is because the Landes have the same values as rugby that so many former players have chosen to settle in the area and try a different career, often with great success.

Flash-back: France-New Zealand, semi-final of the 1999 World Cup, an unforgettable try by Philippe BERNAT-SALLES, France's winger: a truly special moment. Fast forward to 2011, and the Landes welcomed this player turned campsite owner, who is happy with his new life: "You know, everyone thought I was crazy when I bought my first campsite 10 years ago." He manages the team at Camping de la Mer*** in Labenne a bit like he did on the rugby pitch, when he ran for that famous try, his hair blowing in the wind.

Olivier ROUMAT, who played for the France team which won the 5 Nations in 1993 has also launched a second career in the Landes. He is now the manager of the Village Naturéo **** campsite in Seignosse and of the Hotel Mercedes*** in Hossegor.

In the Landes, mixing rugby with culture is not a challenge. To prove it:
Those who love the oval-shaped ball (in this case, a priest) have scored a try by transforming a chapel in ruins into a sanctuary and place of prayer with links to the world of rugby: Notre Dame du Rugby in Larrivière receives tens of thousands of visitors every year who come to see the French and international players' shirts. During important championship stages and especially during a World Cup, the visitors are even more numerous. It just goes to show that the spirit of rugby has no limits...

Whilst we're on the subject, rugby and cartoon strips also go hand in hand. Another former Landes rugby player, Jean HARAMBAT, after completing his studies in business and philosophy, decided to travel the world. He took his amateur rugby boots and his cartoonist's paintbrushes. From this odd combination, a beautiful cartoon strip was created: " En même temps que la jeunesse". "I wanted to talk about this sport from within, use it as a background to talk about life... This literary tradition doesn't exist in France, maybe because the separation between intellectual and physical pursuits is more pronounced and because we place more importance on the former. There are some nice texts by Mac Orlan and Giraudoux on rugby, but that's about it. With regard to cartoonists, sport just isn't usually their strong point..." he says.

And finally, a few words from a woman who understood a thing or two about rugby, Françoise SAGAN: "We often hear people saying that rugby is a sport like no other. Its exceptional brutality, the complicated rules, the effect that it has on those who hold or think they hold the key to its mystery: all this makes the sport both awesome and secretive".


(CDT des Landes - Updated 22/03/2017)