Open main menu

Raymond James "Ray" French, MBE (born 23 December 1939)[2] is an English former rugby union and rugby league footballer of the 1950s and 1960s, and former rugby league commentator. French played at international level in both codes. He won four caps for England in rugby union in 1961 as a lock forward. Then he moved to rugby league as a second-row, and then played for his home town club, St. Helens, afterwards going on to play at Widnes.[1]

Ray French
MBE
Personal information
Full nameRaymond James French MBE
Born (1939-12-23) 23 December 1939 (age 79)
Playing information
PositionSecond-row
Club
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1961–67 St. Helens 207 10 0 0 40
1967–71 Widnes 123 6 0 0 18
Total 330 16 0 0 58
Representative
Years Team Pld T G FG P
1968 Great Britain 4 0 0 0 0
Source: [1]

After training as a school teacher,[3] he taught at Cowley School in St. Helens, Lancashire, where his local counterparts included Brian Ashton who taught at Stonyhurst College.

French was a commentator on rugby league on both television and radio. He is well known for his range of colloquialisms. French is regularly heard on the Rugby League show Try Time each Thursday on BBC Radio Merseyside giving his views on the state of the game in his forthright way. He retired in 2019.

In 2010 French received the Mike Gregory Spirit of Rugby League Award to mark his contribution to the game.[4]

Also President of the St Helens Past Players' Association, French was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2011 New Year Honours for services to rugby league.[5]

Contents

Playing careerEdit

Championship Final appearancesEdit

Ray French played left-second-row, i.e. number 11, in St. Helens' 35-12 victory over Halifax in the Championship Final during the 1965–66 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 28 May 1966, in front of a crowd of 30,165.

Challenge Cup Final appearancesEdit

Ray French played left-second-row, i.e. number 11, in St. Helens' 21-2 victory over Wigan in the 1966 Challenge Cup Final during the 1965–66 season at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday 21 May 1966, in front of a crowd of 98,536.

County Cup Final appearancesEdit

Ray French played right-second-row, i.e. number 12, in St. Helens' 25–9 victory over Swinton in the 1961 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1961–62 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 11 November 1961, played left-second-row, i.e. number 11, in the 15–4 victory over Leigh in the 1963 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1963–64 season at Station Road, Swinton on Saturday 26 October 1963, and played left-second-row in the 12–4 victory over Swinton in the 1964 Lancashire County Cup Final during the 1964–65 season at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 24 October 1964.

BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final appearancesEdit

Ray French played left-prop, i.e. number 8, in St. Helens' 0–4 defeat by Castleford in the 1965 BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final during the 1965–66 season at Knowsley Road, St. Helens on Tuesday 14 December 1965.

Famous quotesEdit

  • "Now, then.!"
  • "It's thur!"
  • "Every time we come to Headingley there is a dog on the pitch. Why oh why people bring dogs to rugby games, I'll never know!"
  • "He's a big lad, He's a strong lad!"
  • "Well, Vince Karalius once said to me that the only good Aussie is a dead Aussie!"
  • "This lad's got boots like carpet slippers"
  • "And if this man doesn't get man-of-the-match today then I've misjudged my judgement of Rugby League"
  • "And if you take a closer look Alex, Rick Thackeray has gorra tremendous gash… just above his 'ead."
  • "And there we see the sad sight of Martin Offiah limping off with a broken finger."
  • "Well, these kicking tees get stranger by the minute. I was up in Humberside the other day, and there was a lad using one which looked like a traffic cone off the M62!!"
  • "Well Joe, in today's game it's all about pasta and enzymes, when I played we only had a segment of orange".
  • "Can he go all the way?"
  • "He's a little lad but he's got a big heart"
  • "And he's got the icepack on his groin there, so possibly not the old shoulder injury."
  • "And suddenly…!"
  • "There's the hooter!"
  • "And these superb pictures brought to us on this three-hundred and six-teeeee five-degree camera…"
  • "He's going for the line!!"
  • "He's like a needle in a haystack, he's everywhere."
  • "Ohhh and that's Les Boyd again. What a temper this man's got".

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
  2. ^ Ray French takes his cup final leave
  3. ^ Ashton's long road to Paris, via Leigh and Tyldesley Archived 22 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian – 19 October 2007
  4. ^ news.bbc.co.uk (27 September 2010). "Wigan's Pat Richards named 2010 Man of Steel". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
  5. ^ "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 16.

External linksEdit