In the third and last of the series themed around the day jobs of International players’, we look at the ‘Auld Alliance’ or ‘Vieille Alliance’ – established between Scotland and France since the 13th century.
Although principally a military (against the English) and diplomatic agreement, the alliance has influenced Scottish culture for over 700 years, including architecture, law, cuisine –not to mention rugby (Internationals Johnnie Beattie and Max Evans*, play for Castries). In fact, until 1903 any Scottish person living in France could receive French nationality automatically. Seven years later their first international rugby match was played.
*The radio and TV producer Chris Evans is a cousin
Mike Campbell-Lamerton, [1959-1966, 31 caps], lock forward, born into an army family in Malta and served the Duke of Wellington’s regiment all over the world. He made his Scotland debut in 1959 against France as a second-row forward and the following year he toured with the British & Irish Lions. Campbell-Lamerton played for London Scottish FC and was a man who led many lives in one lifetime.
He fought with his regiment during the Korean War. In May 1953 together with another Scottish rugby international, David Gilbert-Smith (1 cap, 1952), took part in the ‘Battle of Hook’, both men, then Lieutenants, led their men through ferocious close-quarter fighting, (outnumbered 5 to 1, by the Chinese forces) to regain the high ground. They repulsed many attacks and secured it in the early hours of 29 May.
As a sports writer was to describe later, ‘The sight of Campbell-Lamerton surging round the tail of a line-out like an enraged hippopotamus was one of the most stirring spectacles in Scottish Rugby’ –the Chinese must have thought so too. For this action, as only one man could be awarded the prestigious Military Cross -it went to the senior officer (Smith).They became life-long friends, and Campbell-Lamerton went on to become a Colonel and in 1979 he received an OBE. His son Jeremy also won 3 caps for Scotland in the 1986-7 season. He left the Army in 1985 and became bursar at Balliol College Oxford he died in 2005 age 71.
John Jeffrey, [1984-1991, 40 caps], a flanker, known in the media as ‘The White Shark’ because of his distinctive pale complexion and blond hair. Jeffrey’s or JJ to his team-mates became his country’s most capped flanker. A formidably fit Kelso player, he was one of the team in Scotland’s Grand Slam victory in 1990.
In his day job he was (and still is) a full-time livestock farmer at Kelso in the Scottish Borders (Bill McLaren country). These days in partnership with his family, he farms over 1,300 acres near Dunbar and 1,100 acres as a tenant on the Duke of Roxburgh’s estate. He’s involved in coaching the Scotland youth teams and commentating at rugby games on BBC Radio Scotland. He is also a member of the Scottish Rugby Council. A strong advocate of Scotland’s red meat industry and champion hill farmer, he was once asked about his working life, he replied that he had just one regret, “If I stand on a hill I can see England.”
Jean-Pierre Rives, [1975-1984, 59 caps], a flanker, born in Toulouse, he became a cult figure in France, and according to the BBC, came to epitomise the team’s spirit and ‘ultra-committed, guts-and-glory style of play’. As he once typically and philosophically declared, ‘…The whole point of rugby is that it is, first and foremost, a state of mind, a spirit.’ He played for Toulouse, (TOEC), Beaumont, Stade Toulousain, and Racing Club de France, captaining France 34 times. Rives is a visual artist and after retiring from the sport, concentrated entirely on his art.
He is both a painter and a sculptor, having exhibited in Paris, Barcelona, Milan and New York and presented a large scale show at the annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Sydney, Australia, in 2007. One of his sculptures is now part of the French rugby calendar. He designed the Giuseppe Garibaldi* Trophy, awarded annually since 2007 to the winner of the Six Nations match between France and Italy. He was awarded the Order of the Legion of Honor and the National Order of Merit by his government. He lives and works at St-Tropez on the Mediterranean.
[* Note: Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian revolutionary, born in Nice 1807 -now in France, but then part of the Kingdom of Sardinia. He was one of the fathers of unified Italy; he was also a general in the French Army during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870. As part of the celebrations of the bicentenary of Garibaldi’s birth it was decided by the Fédération Française de Rugby and the Federazione Italiana Rugby to create a trophy in his honour.]
Jean Condom, [1982-1990, 62 caps], playing at lock, – a massive second row forward playing for France, towering 6ft 5in (1.8 meters) and weighing in at 18st.(114 kilos). In his heyday he was a Casino bouncer ensuring law and order at one of the famous Biarritz Casino’s during 1980’s. At the time he played for Biarritz Olympique together with Serge Blanco at Full Back, described by one writer as ‘a club for the beautiful people’, when they were enjoying a competitive spell.
Jean’s surname gave the British sports press many ‘field days’ indulging their ‘double entendre’ headlines. And who remembers suppressing schoolboy giggles every time BBC’s Scottish commentator Bill McLaren mentioned ‘Condom’. (Although today, he would have made a fortune in endorsements).
During the 1980’s one of his epic struggles was with Willie Anderson the Irish lock (27 caps), which produced one of the most memorable moments in sporting history. They both unwittingly became the subject of a very amusing banner spotted by TV cameras in the crowd during a Five Nations match in Dublin in 1985. The banner proudly read ‘Our Willie is bigger than your Condom!’ Incidentally the match was drawn 15-15. He later joined Bayonne in 1995 before throwing his weight behind a new career as a sales representative.