Albert Ferrasse

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The Independent Online

Albert Ferrasse, who died on 28 July aged 93, was a pioneering president of the French rugby federation (FFR).

As a player Ferrasse was a hard-working second row forward for Agen, helping his club win the French championship in 1945. But he was best known as an administrator. After becoming president of Agen in 1963, Ferrasse took over as FFR president from 1968-91.

France achieved considerable success on the field during his tenure although his dictatorial style did not always find favour with the players. "Sometimes I was bickering with him over French team selection when I was a player," the current French team manager Jo Maso said. "But I got to know him better when I joined the FFR in 1991. And I found that under the iron fist there was a big heart."

He was the first French president of the International Rugby Board (1979-87) and did much to promote the idea of the World Cup. He presented the trophy to New Zealand at the end of the inaugural tournament.