Ray French

Last updated

Ray French
MBE
Personal information
Full nameRaymond James French MBE
Born (1939-12-23) 23 December 1939 (age 81)
Playing information
Rugby union
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
–1961 St Helens RUFC
Representative
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1961–61 England 40000
Rugby league
Position Second-row
Club
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1961–67 St. Helens 207100040
1967–71 Widnes 12360018
Total330160058
Representative
YearsTeamPldTGFGP
1968 Great Britain 40000
Source: [1]

Raymond James "Ray" French, MBE (born 23 December 1939) [2] is an English former rugby league and rugby union footballer who played in 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]

Contents

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]

Playing career

Championship Final appearances

Ray French played left-second-row 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 appearances

Ray French played left-second-row 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 appearances

Ray French played right-second-row in St. Helens' 25–9 victory over Swinton in the 1961 Lancashire Cup Final at Central Park, Wigan on Saturday 11 November 1961; played left-second-row in the 15–4 victory over Leigh in the 1963 Lancashire Cup Final 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 Cup Final atCentral Park, Wigan on Saturday 24 October 1964.

BBC2 Floodlit Trophy Final appearances

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

Ray French Award

In August 2019 the Rugby Football League ran a poll among fans on the Our League app to name a trophy for the man of the match award in the 1895 Cup Final. French was one of three names in the poll along with Willie Horne and Johnny Whiteley. [6] French won the poll with over 60% of the votes cast and presented the award at the inaugural final on 24 August 2019 to Sheffield's Anthony Thackeray. [7]

Award winners

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References

  1. 1 2 "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.
  6. "Fans invited to vote for who 1895 Cup man of the match award should be named after". Love Rugby League. 6 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  7. "New trophy named in recognition of Ray French". Love Rugby League. 15 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
  8. "Sheffield Eagles win inaugural 1895 Cup". BBC Sport. 24 August 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
  9. Pattison, Cam (17 July 2021). "Ex-Hull FC star becomes second ever winner of Ray French Award". Serious About Rugby League. Retrieved 17 July 2021.