I started to play rugby in 1986 when I was 20... At the time, French rugby was revigorated by a gang of 5 talented players from Racing Club de France, self-named the "Show-Bizz" aka Franck Mesnel, Jean-Ba Laffont, Eric Blanc, Yvon Rousset and Philippe Guillard... These gentlemen brought to the highest point the rugby values of fun, flair, friendship, eccentricity... together with performances and hard work... culminating in 1987 when Racing three-quarters played (but lost...) the final of French Championship wearing a pink bow-tie... or in 1990 sipping Champagne in crystal glasses (served by Yvon Rousset...) at half-time of their their second (and winning!) Champional final...
At the end of their "rugby years", the "Show-bizz" five founded Eden Park, a tremendous sucess story in sportswear and fashion, which brand logo couldn't be anything else than a pink bow-tie... This 20 years adventure is commemorated in a richly illustrated book published last year, "Rugby Papillon" (on sale here ; some sample pages available).
So what ??
"Show-Bizz" and Eden Park is not exactly rugby history (yet...) ??
The point is that I was recently sorting out some pictures about the New Zealand Maori team that toured to England in 1888-1889 - please read that former post about it - and suddendly realised that some of the "Natives" were also wearing ties with their rugby kit !
I can't determine from this b&w picture if the ties were also pink (doubtful....), but I am now sure that the "Show-bizz" Racingmen have something to share with their Maoris elders !!
Let's also caption my pictures :
Portrays are W.Anderson and G.A. Williams from the New Zealand Natives team in 1888 - I have found these pictures in "Football : Rugby Union Game" by Rev. F.Marshall, published in 1892, an fantastic archive of XIXth century rugby.
Below is RCF center Eric Blanc (now RCF Manager...) during 1987 final ; credit to "Rugby Papillon"