Little stories of a great Shield: breadcrumbs, diving, surfing and “cane strokes”

Ah, if the Shield of Brennus could speak! If the most coveted trophy in French rugby could tell even a tenth of what it has experienced over the century, and more. To try to trace the adventures crossed since 1892 by the “bouclard”, we gave the floor to those who had one day had it in their hands. listen to them…

You had it, poto. You’ve seen stuff, funny or sordid, in 140 years of third halves. You have known fists that hoisted you to the skies, torsos that hugged you, mouths that, greedy, in love or bleeding, covered you with kisses. You have traveled there, to Barcelona with the gang at Dupont, to Castel with the showbiz guys and even to the top of Canigou, perched on the shoulders of David Marty…

Brennus? Bernard Laporte has won a bloodletting: two at the controls of the French Stadium, one on the Rade and another, probably the most enjoyable of all, as captain of CABBG in 1991. He told us, Monday morning: “After the first Stade Français title in 1998, I had a little trouble leaving the Shield. I took him to a nightclub and brought him home in the morning. It was strong, what. Tonight- there Max (Guazzini, Editor’s note) nevertheless asked me to carry the trophy to the Lido. I snuck into the shower, took the Shield, and climbed into the small elevator in my apartment in the thirteenth arrondissement. There, I met the concierge of the building, who said to me: “Come on, Monsieur Laporte! What is this thing?” I was sawed.” What is precious in the eyes of some is not necessarily so in the eyes of others and Jean Baptiste Lafond, champion with Racing in 1990, does not say anything else: “The Shield? It marked me for life and in every sense of the word. Already, because I took it on the face in the Parc des Princes swimming pool, it earned me ten stitches and the happiness of spending the evening with a roll of toilet paper on my head. Then, because it allowed me to experience one of those moments of humanity that I will never forget.” Three days after the coronation of show biz, Lafond therefore decided to join, by car, the Basque Country and on the way, stopped in Villeneuve-de-Marsan (Landes) to refuel: “I had put the bouclard on the back seat and seeing it, the attendant had a break. He said to me: “Is that what I believe, sir?” I told him yes. He smiled, touched it, kissed it. We took a photo, another and the guy had happiness in his eyes. That was the power of the Brennus… All that I couldn’t measure in the streets of Paris…”

Instant X by Maxime Mermoz

In Perpignan, the “planchot” had a few cold sweats in the summer of 2009. Julien Candelon, French champion with Usap that year, explains: “One afternoon, after an endless night of partying, we decided to take the trophy to a restaurant on the coast. We put it on the table and we all sat around it.” There, Samoan number 8 Henry Tuilagi (1.85m and 130kg) ordered a “overcooked steak” to the waiter and in Catalonia, life went on. “ When Henry said very cooked, continues Candelon, it was sole. Tire, what! A few minutes later the waiter came back with the meat. Henry tasted it and politely asked for more cooking. The young man came back two minutes later but for Henry, it was still not cooked enough. When the waiter arrived in the room for the third time with the barbaque still a little too red, Henry grabbed a knife and very pissed off, stuck it in the shield! I can still see the surin going back and forth on the planchot! The server was petrified. And so are we, by the way…” But if the Catalans sometimes led a hard life at Brennus, they also knew how to cover it with love. Maxime Mermoz, three-quarter center of Usap in 2009, now says: “Personally, I left Perpignan the day after the title to go on tour in New Zealand. At the time, you were told that it was normal, that rugby had been like that for fifty years and that it never there was no reason to change it… Anyway… I did see a few pictures of our celebrations though.” And ? “The Shield received a lot of love that year. But no ? “Yes! I actually thought it was brilliant. The Shield is a mattress that you can only use once in your life! The whole thing was just to disinfect well behind it.” Well yeah…

Bouscatel and the loaf of bread

He’s seen so much, the Brennus. He was surfed by Romain Ntamack in 2019, in Leucate. He served as a board for Camille Chat and Brice Dulin in the Camp Nou swimming pool in 2016. He vibrated, the same year, to the sound of the Haka deployed for him by Dan Carter, Joe Rokocoko and Chris Masoe, the All Blacks from the Hauts-de-Seine. It suffered a thousand deaths when Rabah Slimani used it to “ventriglisse” in 2015, in the locker room of the Stade de France. In 1992, it even almost disappeared forever, Aubin Hueber saying about it in the columns of Nouvel Obs: “That year, Toulon was on fire and sword. At the end of the evening, the Shield ended up in the Rade and we, the players, plunged as one man into the water of the port so that it did not sink. not.” And because“everything is different here”Mourad Boudjellal, president of the RCT from 2006 to 2020, could not help but put his signature on it: “In 2014, he told us this week, I wanted to mark the passage of Brennus in the Var. Under the plaque, I then slipped a little note that said: “This is the property of the RCT. Please return it after use”. He may still be there, go figure!” And if it is still there, there is no doubt that by reading these lines, Boudjellal’s good friends at the League will track down the ticket to make it disappear before kick-off tonight…

How Harinordoquy customized it

In Toulouse, we had the object so many times in our hands (twenty-one, to be exact) that the Rouge et Noir logically had more time than the others to leave their mark on it, erasing a year with with the plaster all the titles of the Olympic Castres or another, patching it up as they could after a wild night: “In 2011, explained René Bouscatel to our colleagues from La Dépêche du Midi, the Shield ended up in pieces, rue de la Soif in Paris. We then looked for wood glue everywhere but unable to find any, we, with the players, chewed on bread crumbs to try to glue the pieces back together. He arrived like that, place du Capitole.” You know what ? The Biarrots had done worse, in 2005. And this one, it is Imanol Harinordoquy who recalls it: “To appropriate the Shield, we had decided to “customize”. We had scratched the names of the enemy clubs, I let you imagine which ones, then we had written on them, dismantled the golden angles, removed the plate and even the central circle. The Brennus no longer looked like anything, but what we didn’t know was that we had to present it two days later to the regional council and that it had to be perfect. Upon seeing the object, our leaders freaked out. They rushed it to a craftsman, who gave it a makeover overnight. It was quite a challenge. But it went cream…”

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