Jacques Fouroux

'Petit Caporal' of French rugby


Jacques Fouroux, rugby player and coach: born Auch, France 24 July 1947; married; died Auch 17 December 2005.

Jacques Fouroux was a Grand Slam skipper and coach for France, a man who earned the nickname of "Le Petit Caporal" for the way in which he whipped into shape the huge set of French forwards selected to play in front of him. Small in stature, but a giant presence both on and off the rugby field, Fouroux orchestrated the 1977 Grand Slam as captain before coaching France to similar clean sweeps of the Five Nations' Championship in 1981 and 1987. He was also in charge when France reached the final of the inaugural Rugby World Cup in Australia in 1987.

He launched his playing career in his home town of Auch, moved to Cognac and won his caps from La Voulte. He was dubbed "captain or nothing" by some of his team-mates because he led France in 21 of his 28 internationals between 1972 and 1977.

Fouroux had four wonderful battles with Wales's outstanding scrum-half Gareth Edwards during the Seventies. "Jacques was a great opponent on the field and good fun afterwards off it," Edwards recalls. "I remember swapping jerseys with him after one match and not being able to fit into it - it was tiny. It was tailor-made for him."

Wales were Grand Slam winners in 1976 and 1978, with Fouroux's French side taking the honours in between. That 1977 side remained unchanged throughout the championship - only the second team to achieve that feat - and didn't concede a try in the four games. Fouroux was a contrasting figure to the giants of the French pack like Gérard Cholley, Robert Paparemborde, Michel Palmié and Jean-Pierre Bastiat as he weighed in at only 10st 6lb and stood at 5ft 3in tall. But, Edwards says,

The French side need a strong personality to govern it and Jacques, despite his size, provided it. They said that the style of the French team changed in his era, with a huge pack of forwards taking the limelight from their more traditional, free-running backs, and he wasn't afraid to whip them into shape.

Edwards became good friends with Fouroux after their playing days were over, and describes him as "the life and soul of any gathering and never afraid to speak his mind".

Fouroux's outspoken views often got him into trouble and he turned from the darling of French rugby into something of an enfant terrible. Having taking over the coaching reigns of "Les Blues" at the age of only 34, he made an impact straight away as he steered Jean-Pierre Rives' side to an immediate Grand Slam.

Fouroux remained coach through to 1988, winning a second Grand Slam and reaching the final of the 1987 Rugby World Cup, and then took on the duties of team manager for a further two years. He became a powerful figure in the game in France and took up a seat on the council of the French Rugby Federation (FFR) between 1987 and 1990.

He looked set to become the FFR president in succession to the long serving Albert Ferrasse, who once described Fouroux as "my son", but then fell foul of Ferrasse when it came to the finer points of the board-room politics and some of the conditions he expected to be attached to his sponsorship. Fouroux's reaction was to re-immerse himself in coaching and he guided Grenoble to the French Championship final in 1993. They met Castres Olympique in Paris and were much the better side, yet lost to a controversial try by the All Black lock Gary Whetton.

His next move was perhaps his most controversial of them all, as he tried to set-up a rugby league circus in France. He launched a team in Paris, taking a number of players from Grenoble, but his dream played out to small crowds and no television and quickly died.

One of the 15 founder members of the French Barbarians, he took up other coaching positions in quick succession without much success. He was in charge at Auch between 1996 and 1998, moved to Paris to take control at Racing Club and this season re-emerged after two very difficult years in the wilderness as coach of the Italian side L'Aquila. Once again, it didn't prove to be a happy marriage and Fouroux returned to his home town after only a few months.

Two days before Fouroux's death, the Toulon president, Eric Champ, had asked his former Grand Slam coach to help out with his struggling forwards. Fouroux had been looking forward to the challenge.

Rob Cole

News
The surrealist comedian at the Q Awards in 2010
people
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Sport
Christiano Ronaldo enjoys his opening goal
champions leagueLiverpool 0 Real Madrid 3: Ronaldo and Benzema run Reds ragged to avenge thrashing from their last visit to Anfield
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
News
Wilko Johnson is currently on his farewell tour
people
Voices
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
voicesRenée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity, says Amanda Hess
News
Let’s pretend: KidZania in Tokyo
educationKidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day
Life and Style
CHARGE BOOSTER: Aeroplane mode doesn't sound very exciting, but it can be a (phone) hacker's friend. Turning on the option while charging your mobile will increase the speed at which your phone battery charges
techNew book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone
Arts and Entertainment
Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are starring together in civil rights drama Freeheld
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Solutions Architect - Permanent - London - £70k DOE

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

General Cover Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: Great opportunities for Cover...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Reading: QTS Maths Teachers needed for...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?