Chamorin has heart to stir Paris romance
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Friday 29 March 1996
The Sheffield Eagles will adopt an uncharacteristic role at the Charlety Stadium in Paris tonight when they try to stamp on Super League's most fragile bloom.
The Eagles are the best - some would say only -example of successful expansion of rugby league's boundaries in Britain. Now they present a daunting barricade in the way of the Paris St-Germain club's hopes of establishing themselves. "I wish them well," Sheffield's founding father, Gary Hetherington, said. "Although we want to beat them, it is very important that they are seen to be competitive."
Having examined the available evidence, he believes that they will be. "They will be much harder to beat at home than people are expecting." Paris are led by one player Hetherington would have loved to put in a Sheffield shirt tonight, but Pierre Chamorin opted to stay in France rather than join his friend and fellow-countryman, Jean-Marc Garcia, in south Yorkshire.
"Chamorin is a class centre. He just glides over the ground," Hetherington said. He also knows and respects the ability of two other Frenchmen who have passed through the Don Valley, Laurent Lucchese and Frederic Banquet, as well as Patrick Entat, the national side's scrum-half and captain, who played for Hull and Leeds.
The Paris chief executive, Tas Baitieri, who has watched the players blend into a team over the past few weeks, is another who believes that they will exceed all expectations. "There is tremendous pride in this squad," he said. "Other teams underestimate us at their peril."
There are problems, however, with injuries depriving Paris of three of their original selections for their opening match: Bernard Lacombe, David Despin and Frederic Teixido. On top of that, the tenuous professionalism of the game in France is underlined by the withdrawal of Pascal Jampy, because he has not been able to get time off from his employers.
For part-time players based in the south, as all the current squad are, travel to Paris to prepare for matches is likely to be a recurring headache. "We would like to relocate everyone to Paris, but that would be very costly," Baitieri says. For the meantime, PSG will be the best-travelled team in Super League, taking as long to trek to Paris as most English clubs.
Some members of the side have travelled a long way already. As well as three Australians and a New Zealander in tonight's line-up, they also have the former captain of the Polish rugby union team, Gregory Kacala, and the Moldovan, Mikhail Piscunov, on the wing in place of Lacombe.
Piscunov has been timed as faster than Martin Offiah and has been a target for clubs in Australia and Britain, so his inclusion should not weaken the side unduly.
There will be some well-travelled supporters at tonight's game as well. Apart from more than 1,000 fans who are travelling from Sheffield, a ticket offer through a French TV channel has been taken up by more than 10,000 people, many of them from league's heartland in the south. Baitieri is confident of a crowd of 15,000 and says that the Charlety Stadium's 22,000 capacity could be reached.
Latest in Sport
Brendan Rodgers says Manchester City's slip is timely warning for Liverpool title hopes
30 players who could be set for a big-money transfer this summer
Manchester United transfer news: David Moyes watches Porto stars Eliaquim Mangala and Jackson Martinez as recruitment drive steps up a gear
Barcelona 1 Real Madrid 2 match report: Gareth Bale scores wonder goal to claim Copa del Rey for Real
Luis Suarez: Could Liverpool cash in on their star striker if they won the Premier League this season?
- 1 Are you turning into your dad? The top ten signs you've embraced dad-ism revealed as survey says 38 is age men turn into their father
- 2 Overheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
- 3 Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'
- 4 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 5 Grace Dent on TV: Game of Thrones has jumped the shark
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage on Have I Got News For You: Ukip leader ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...
£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...
£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...