Many of these servicemen play with various French civilian clubs and compete in the French championships organized by the French Rugby Federation (FFR).
This selected squad is gathered together two to three times each season to play against national teams such as Belgium or a number of civilian clubs in France. The team took part of the first IDRC organized by the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces in 2011. The French national military team has also visited the Steuea Bucharest Club in Romania which has a strong affiliation with French rugby.
The aim of the French National Military team is to promote rugby within, but also in a wider context outside, the Armed Forces. It represents the promotion of excellence in military team sport and reinforces the French servicemen’s values. Fighting spirit, sacrifice and comradeship are basic qualities that rugby can demonstrate within the Armed Forces. We consider the French National Military Rugby team is the perfect example of such values.
There is a strong history of rugby matches being played between the individual Armed Forces of France and the UK. The Royal Navy has continued its close association with the Marine Nationale with an annual fixture alternating between Portsmouth and Toulon. The Royal Air Force has renewed its fixtures with the French Air Force whilst the British Army played against the French Army almost continuously from 1920 until 1959—even in 1940 during World War II. That commitment to inter-Army rugby was renewed in Melun, near Paris in 2015 and it is hoped to continue such progress into the future.
In Europe the French Armed Forces played against the British Army in Germany. The results invariably went in favour of the French Armed Forces although some matches were said to be a’close run thing’.
The French National Military Rugby team is the heiress of the famous ‘Bataillon de Joinville’ rugby team that until the end of the 1990s concentrated many French international players into one organization during times when conscription was mandatory in France.
At the beginning of the 2000’s, with the professionalization of the Armed Forces, a wish to remember such a great team was re-created. It was decided to choose the best players from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Gendarmerie in recognition of the rugby achievements of its famous forebears.
|STÉPHANE GAMONET||SCRUM HALF|
|JULIEN MAGNANI||SCRUM HALF|
|CÉDRIC JACOB||FLY HALF|
|DAMIEN ANON||FLY HALF|
|CLÉMENT DE PINA ARAUJO||FULL BACK|
|ALEXIS TAURINES||FULL BACK|
|ANTOINE ROBICHON||NO. 8|
|JONATHAN ABADIE||NO. 8|
|VEREDAMU TAVITE||NO. 8|
|DOCTOR (COL) LAURENT THEFENNE||HEAD OF DELEGATION|
|WO1 PHILIPPE VERGELADI||HEAD COACH|
|WO1 GÉRARD AUGUSTIN||PHYSICAL TRAINER|
|WO2 NICOLAS CASTAING||VIDEO RECORDER|
|SSGT ALEXANDRE VAILLS||FORWARDS COACH|
|SSGT GILLES SOIRAT||BACKS COACH|
|SGT LAURENT SCLAFER||VIDEO AND REFEREE ADVISOR|
|SGT GUILLAUME TRAIN||PHYSICAL TRAINER|
|SSGT ERICK PAGANI||BAGGAGE MASTER|
|WO1 MARIAN MANGIN D'HERMANTAIN||PHYSIOTHERAPIST|
|PTE FLORIAN LANKAR||OSTEOPATH|
|SHT JEAN-PIERRE GUIRAUD||REFEREE|
Philippe Vergeladi is the coach to the French Military National Team. He was born on 15th July 1963 in the French port of Toulon which is, of course, the home of the European Rugby Champions and a city that lives and breathes rugby a la Jonny Wilkinson. In 1982 he started playing in the French 1st Division Group ‘B’ and in 1986 was promoted to play in Group ‘A’. He returned to Group ‘B’ for a second period of four years before taking up a coaching position with a youth team. He progressed to coach at senior level with the Federal One team ‘La Seyne sur Mer’ which is the first level below the two French professional divisions. There followed a period from 2004 until 2009 when he was the Regional Coach for the Cote d’Azur. Simultaneously over the period 2007-2015 he was coach to the French Military National team and was also the National Technical Director for the Marine Nationale (the French Navy).