Jacques Fouroux (24 July 1947 – 17 December 2005) was a French rugby union player and coach. He captained France when they won the Grand Slam in 1977, and was the manager when the side repeated the feat in 1981 and 1987.
Jacques Fouroux in 1971
|Date of birth||24 July 1947|
|Place of birth||Auch, France|
|Date of death||17 December 2005(aged 58)|
|Place of death||Auch, France|
|Height||1.63 m (5 ft 4 in)|
|Weight||66 kg (146 lb)|
|Rugby union career|
Fouroux, who played as a scrum half, played for his hometown team FC Auch, as a youngster and at the end of his career (1976–1980). He started as senior with US Cognac until 1970 and played for La Voulte until 1976. He made his international debut in 1972 although it took him another four years to become a regular starter, as he was in competition with another, more sober, scrum-half Richard Astre of Béziers. At 5 ft 3 ins tall, he was one of the smallest players ever to play international rugby. His size, combined with his supremely confident, almost arrogant, leadership style, meant that he was often compared with Napoleon Bonaparte; Bonaparte's nickname "the little Corporal" stuck with Fouroux throughout his career. He was particularly happy when the going got tough and was described as a "ninth forward".
Fouroux captained France during both the 1976 and the 1977 Five Nations Championship. The 1976 Championship went well for France, their only loss came against Wales. The French highlight of the tournament was a 30–9 victory over England. The following year, which was to prove to be Fouroux's final season as an international player, saw France take the Grand Slam. Aside from a 4–3 victory over England, in which England missed a number of kickable penalties, France won their second Grand Slam fairly convincingly. The same 15 players played the 4 games from beginning to end.
After retiring, having earned 27 international caps, 23 as captain, Fouroux became the coach of France shortly before the 1981 Five Nations tournament. Fouroux's appointment coincided with France's domination of the Five Nations; in the ten years that he managed the side, France won the Five Nations on six occasions. During the 1980s France's successes were based around their massive pack, a fact which upset a number of commentators in France who preferred a more technical approach. France entered the inaugural World Cup as one of the favourites. The team progressed all the way to the final before losing 29–9 to the All Blacks.
Throughout his career as both a player and a coach, Fouroux was unafraid of making enemies and upsetting people. This finally caught up with him in 1990, when an embarrassing 12–6 defeat to Romania provided a perfect excuse for the Fédération Française de Rugby to give him the sack. Following this he became the coach of FC Grenoble (1992–1993), whom he took to the final of the French League in 1993 with a massive pack nicknamed the mammoths. Grenoble lost the match and Fouroux, who claimed that the game had been fixed, defected to rugby league.
In November 1994, Fouroux announced the planned creation of a 'France Rugby League' competition, which was later abandoned in favour of a new rugby league club in Paris, to compete in Rupert Murdoch's Super League. The club, Paris Saint-Germain, only lasted two seasons in Super League before it collapsed however.
In his final years, Fouroux had been working in Italy with rugby union side L'Aquila.
He died aged 58 of a heart attack.
| French National Rugby Union Coach