the ideal Christmas library

At the end of a year full of oval events, lovely joys and great disappointments, the most beautiful works to place under the tree.

Two centuries of rugby gaze upon you

It was in 1823 that William Webb Ellis, by grabbing the ball in his hand, invented a new sport which would take the name of the town where the sacrilege was committed: Rugby. From this initial legend, Jérôme Prévot recounts 199 others in this abundant book which surprises with each new story. Incongruous stories, improbable myths, tasty anecdotes. Who invented cad-déb? Where does French Flair come from? When did the one-eyed match take place? All the answers in this essential work which brings together all these legends published since the beginning of the year in Midi Olympique.
200 years of rugby, by Jérôme Prévot
Hugo Sport. €39.95

The best of the Blues over time

It is always complicated to establish rankings. But Thibaut Geffrotin brilliantly tried his hand at this exercise by establishing a clification of players from the rich history of the French XV, according to their position. Philippe Saint-André, Christophe Dominici, Vincent Clerc or Damian Penaud, who is the best winger of the Blues? An example, among many others, of the questions that arise with this type of top 10. The legends of yesterday and those of today intersect in this beautifully illustrated work, embellished with small, well-felt biographies. The great advantage of this type of clification is that it is open to discussion. Everyone has their own preferences, their own tastes. But everyone agrees on the undeniable talent of this selection of the best players of the French XV.

Legends of rugby – XV of France, by Thibaut Geffrotin
Talent Sports. €26.90

A life in pink

Here is the book that all lovers of Stade Français Paris have been waiting for: the story of its 140 years of existence since five students, on December 13, 1883, founded the club at the Procope restaurant. From the first title of French rugby champion, ten years later, to the last in 2005, ping (at length) through the brilliant and joyful Guazzini years, the story unfolds, richly illustrated. A must have for the pink army, these diehard supporters of the team that invented the pink jersey.

1883-2023 Stade Français Paris, by Bertrand Lécureur
Ramsay. 30€

2023 World Cup: keep the good memories

Obviously, the outcome of this World Cup is cruel, with the elimination of the Blues by a very small point by the Springboks in the quarter-finals. But this tenth World Cup will remain in everyone’s memory, for the quality of the matches that take place and the enormous enthusiasm that there is around the Blues, of course, but also around all the stadiums, in all the cities. David Reyrat, journalist and sports chief at Le Figaro, returns in a guestbook on the sporting event of the year 2023. The rhythm is breathtaking, precise, lively. All the matches and major events are told with pion and accurately illustrated. A must have to keep carefully. An ideal gift for the Christmas holidays.

Rugby World Cup 2023 – The guestbook, by David Reyrat
Solar Editions. €24.90

Ntamack, a family story

When he tells his story, Romain Ntamack doesn’t just talk about himself. Rugby is a family affair. A grandfather, a father, Emile, and two uncles, rugby players; a brother and him who follow in their footsteps. Without forgetting Marie, his mother, also from a family immersed in the pot of the oval ball. A mother who never hesitated to spend long hours helping her sons feed their unquenchable appetite for rugby. A life of pion concluded, provisionally, with tears. Those of joy after offering the coronation to Stade Toulousain last June at the Stade de France: “it was the first time I cried after a match”. Those of despondency when a knee injury deprived him of his life’s goal: winning a World Cup in France.

“Rugby in the blood” by Romain Ntamack
Michel Lafon. €20.95

Cameron Woki, the wisdom of the warrior

At only 25 years old, Cameron Woki has become a central figure in French rugby. A leader on the field, but also a voice that counts off it. The Racing 92 player, versatile second or third row, chose to tell his story, already very rich, in an autobiography written in collaboration with Rémy Fière. And to look back on his dazzling journey, from his beginnings at 18 in Bobigny, then through Bordeaux-Bègles, the French under-20 team, world champion in 2018, to the French XV from 2020 and at the last World Cup. Stories of matches and locker rooms, personal anecdotes, his friendship with Matthieu Jalibert, Cameron Woki confides unvarnished, with great sincerity and authenticity. From his story, a great wisdom emerges, not necessarily known, but drawn in particular from his faith in God. Obviously with his feelings about the painful failure of the Blues against the Springboks during the World Cup, “as if the roof of the stadium fell on our heads”. But with the desire to get up and continue moving forward.

“I Will Always Believe” by Cameron Woki
Editions Michel Lafon. €17.95

A literary dive into what rugby has offered at its most noble or meanest in recent years. Pionflower


Since 2016, Richard Escot, his pen always sharp, has shared his hat tricks and jokes, his tributes and his criticisms on his blog “Côté Ouvert”. A kaleidoscope of moods, happy or sad, flamboyant with witticisms and poetic flights. A literary dive into what rugby has offered at its most noble or meanest in recent years. Until the final failure.

Open side, 2016-2023: Chronicles of a postponed coronation, by Richard Escot
Editions Piflore. €17

Stade Toulousain in the 100

There are 133 players to have played at least one hundred matches under the red-and-black tunic of Stade Toulousain. A hall of fame with, at its head, Jean Bouilhou and his 392 appearances. This book paints their portraits, embellished with confidences from those involved. To draw, through the decades and the big names, the great history of a legendary team.

Stade Toulousain, the club of 100by Bruno Gravelet and Gérard Schaller
Hugo Sport. €34.95

The beautiful marriage of rugby and gastronomy

Rugby and gastronomy have always gone well together. Starting from this idea, our colleague Frédéric Viard, journalist at BeIN Sport, and chef Christian Etchebest joined forces to publish an original work which combines these two worlds. Thus, we find a multitude of anecdotes around the world about the oval on the occasion of the last World Cup in France but also, something original, recipes which correspond to the posters of the last World Cup. Like this “braised beef chuck, pan-fried foie gras” to illustrate the recent France-Uruguay. Surely more digestible than the porridge that the Blues served in Lille… Without forgetting the other pleasures of the table, like this France-Italy wine match, of which we will not reveal the winner. A beautiful work, both in form and content, which will delight lovers of oval balloons and good food.

XV at the table – The World Cup feast, by Frédéric Viard and Christian Etchebest
Practical Hatchet. €35

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