Full name Philippe Jean-Paul Sella
Born February 14, 1962, Tonneins
Current age 53 years 235 days
Major teams Saracens, World XV, France, France XV
Position Wing, Centre
Height 5 ft 11 in
Weight 185 lb
|IRB Rugby World Cup||1987-1995||14||13||1||20||5||0||0||0||10||3||1||75.00|
|Test debut||Romania v France at Bucharest, Oct 31, 1982 match details|
|Last Test||England v France at Pretoria, Jun 22, 1995 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
When Philippe Sella retired from international rugby in 1995, his 111 appearances made him the world's most capped player. During a career that spanned 13 years, Sella had mesmerised and destroyed defences the world over.
His debut for France came as a winger against Romania in 1982, but, possessing all of the attributes to become a world-class centre, it was his switch inside that would open up his talents for the world to see. He was famously described by the former France coach Jacques Fouroux as having "the strength of a bull but the touch of a piano player", a description entirely fitting for such a uniquely talented man.
Possessing an incisive turn of pace, a sublime set of handling skills and a gift for choosing the most devastating running lines, Sella was a beautiful player to watch. He was also one of the fiercest defenders in the world game, a trait seen in his devastating hit on the Australian lock Peter Fitzsimons in 1990.
Sella's international career was characterised by great centre partnerships, firstly with Didier Codorniou, then Denis Charvet, Marc Andrieu, Franck Mesnel, and Thierry Lacroix. During the 1986 Five Nations, Sella became only the fourth man to score a try in all four Tests. Only Scotland's Gregor Townsend has repeated the feat since.
During Sella's career France won or shared six Five Nations titles, but Sella was unable to add further silverware despite playing in three successive World Cups between 1987 and 1995. In 1987 Sella's side were beaten finalists, before England ended their run in the 1991 semi-final. Sella bowed out following his 111th cap in the third place play-off for the 1995 tournament, a game in which he and France were able to exact some small measure of revenge over their old rivals England.
Sella played the majority of his club career for French club Agen, helping them to the French national championship in 1982 and 1988. After the switch to professionalism, Sella made his way to Saracens. He played for the London side between 1996 and 1998, retiring following their victory in the 1998 Tetley's Bitter Cup.
He has remained active following his retirement from rugby, opening his own marketing and communications company, appearing as a pundit for French TV channel Canal+ and serving as president for the charity "L'enfants del'Ovale", a sporting and educational charity for underprivileged children. Scrum staff