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Benoît Dauga, the Grand Ferré crushed by rugby

With his clear, piercing eyes and his tall frame (1.

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Benoît Dauga, the Grand Ferré crushed by rugby

With his clear, piercing eyes and his tall frame (1.95 m), he was called the Grand Ferré, after the Picard peasant endowed with prodigious strength who had been a hero of the Hundred Years War.

Dauga, he left Montgaillard, in Chalosse in the Landes, like his teammates Christian Darrouy and the brothers André and Guy Boniface with whom he formed the band of Four Musketeers in the France team.

Between 1964, the year of his debut in Blue at the age of 21, and 1972, he totaled 63 selections in the second or third line, including nine as captain, and eleven tries. He played in nine Five Nations Tournaments, three of which won (1967, 1968, 1970).

His first steps in basketball, the second sport in the Landes, his size and exceptional stature allowed him to excel in touch.

On January 12, 1975, at the age of 32, when he had just been recalled to the France team to supervise the young people, a tackle put an end to his career. In the middle of a match with Stade Montois, his forehead hits the hip of the second line of Dijon which he tries to tackle, his head goes back: it's whiplash.

Dauga remains paralyzed on the ground, only his eyes and lips moving. He was hospitalized in Bordeaux where the doctors detected an elongation of the spinal cord. He is lying next to Georges Magendie, pillar of Racing victim eight days earlier of a rupture of the spinal cord during a similar action and who will die fifteen days later.

- Resilience -

Dauga is paralyzed in all four limbs. But after a long rehabilitation, he gradually regains sensations. After three years, he regained his complete autonomy and, he who had no job besides rugby, joined the Ricard company.

This is one of the first serious and publicized accidents in rugby, long before the current repeated concussions. Dauga will later join the Albert Ferrasse Foundation, which helps injured rugby players.

After spending six years in the management of the French team, between 2003 and 2007 he became president of his lifelong club, Stade Montois.

Benoît Dauga liked to hunt and play cards in Mont-de-Marsan, where he could still be seen recently in the corridors of the Boniface stadium.

"The world of rugby did not let me down", he liked to say to explain the source of his strength of resilience after his accident. The Grand Ferré and rugby, it was give and take.

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