Full name Pierre Villepreux
Born July 5, 1943, Pompadour
Current age 72 years 305 days
Major teams Presidents XV, France
Position Fullback, Fly-half
Height 5 ft 11 in
Weight 180 lb
|Test debut||France v Italy at Toulon, Mar 26, 1967 match details|
|Last Test||Australia v France at Brisbane, Jun 25, 1972 match details|
|Test Statsguru||Main menu | Career summary | Match list | Most points | Most tries | Tournament list|
Pierre Villepreux is the man widely credit with putting the flair back in French rugby.
As a player, Villepreux alternated between fly-half and fullback and was good enough to earn 34 caps for his country between 1967 and 1972. However, if he was a player of some repute, it was as a forward-thinking coach that he cemented his status as an iconic figure within the game.
During his playing days, Villepreux worked as a PE teacher and that, he would later explain, enabled him to spend much time thinking and talking tactics. He would eventually put his radical ideas into practice at Toulouse in the early 1980s alongside another former player, Jean-Claude Skrela.
Working superbly in tandem, Villepreux and Skrela started a rugby revolution, embracing an attacking, expansive and expressive brand of play which would bring their club a French title in 1985 - Toulouse's first in 38 years. Toulouse successfully defended their title before claiming another in 1989.
Bigger and better things lay in store for Villepreux, though, and in 1986 he was asked by Skrela to join him in the French set-up as an assistant coach. Successive Grand Slams followed before the pair led Les Bleus to the final of the 1999 World Cup, having overcome New Zealand in the last four in what is remembered by many as one of the finest matches every played.
France ran out of steam in the final and succumbed to Australia but Villepreux's status as one of the most ingenious coaches of his generation had already been assured. He is currently the Regional Development Manager for Europe in the IRB's Rugby Services division, a role he balances with his work within the French media.