Class of 1972: Fergus Slattery


Fergus Slattery, one of Ireland's great backrow forwards, played alongside a mix of new caps and old heads in Ireland's last win in France in 1972. Players such as Tom Kiernan, Willy John McBride, Ray McLoughlin and Mike Gibson were the bedrock of a team which included five new caps. The blend of experience and talent proved to be too potent a mix for the French.

"Everything has similarities, but in '72 the arena was very small in comparison to Stade Francais yesterday," Slattery said yesterday. "We played in Stade Colombes, which was the Olympic Stadium and much smaller - I'd say it only had about a 30,000 capacity. There was also a running track around the pitch so it didn't have the same atmosphere."

Result: France 9 Ireland 14 (Kiernan 2PG, Maloney try, McLoughlin Try)

Ireland: TJ Kiernan; TO Grace, CMH Gibson, MK Flynn, AW McMaster; BJ McGann, JJ Maloney; RJ McLoughlin, KW Kennedy, JF Lynch, WJ McBride, CFP Feighery, SA McKinney, DJ Hickie, JF Slattery