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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2009
This book initially sketches out the early history of French Rugby League, then covers the tours of Australia and New Zealand by a team who represented the last of the golden generation who grew up playing the game before the wartime government banned Rugby League and confiscated all the code's property and money; a ban which was upheld decades after World War II and almost destroyed the sport.

The style of the book is colloquial and full of anecdotes and humour, which comes across through the translation. In fact, the translated dialogue strongly resembles the English version of Henri Charrière's famous book, 'Papillon'.

The cast of characters ranges across all kinds of eccentricities, although, as this is about the French side, the Australian characters are not as fleshed out.

Given the bare facts of the three tours, especially the first one, it would be hard to make this anything less than a thrilling read. Last-minute winners, feats of courage and endurance and the way the Australin public took the gallant French side to their hearts. The irascible maverick Puig-Aubert dominates the first series, and so he should, with his Rugby League career starting with him climbing out of his bedroom on a rope of knotted sheets to sign a contract without his father's knowledge or permission.

The book is fleshed out with pen-portraits of the touring teams and comprehensive statistics. All Rugby League fans should own this book. Any sports fan at all will identify with and enjoy the tales told here.
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