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Robert Paparemborde was a giant for France and arguably invented modern prop play.

Robert Paparemborde Bio

Robert Paparemborde is a true giant of rugby who was one of the great stars of the game in the 1970s and 80s. Widely regarded as a legend in France, his powerful prop play saw him claim the admiration of millions. Sadly, he died of pancreatic cancer in 2001. Robert Paparemborde was inducted into the RugbyPass Hall of Fame in 2021.

Known affectionately as the Bear of the Pyrenees, Robert Paparemborde was a stalwart for Pau during his domestic career. However, in spite of regularly displaying his prowess domestically, he did not make his debut for France until the age of 27.

However, when he was finally given the chance to represent his country, he never looked back. Between 1975 and 1983, Robert Paparemborde amassed 55 caps for the French national team at prop, which was a record at the time. Since his retirement, many coaches and players have said that he invented the modern style of prop play during his time with the national side. Partially as a result of his impressive performances, France captured the Five Nations Championship (now the Six Nations Championship) three times during this period, including Grand Slams in 1977 and 1981.

Although he spent almost the entirety of his domestic career with Pau, Robert Paparemborde switched to Racing Club in Paris for his final year in the game. Following this, he then moved into coaching and successfully coached the side to the title in 1990. After his playing days had concluded, he also served as the vice-president of the French Federation. Away from the game, he was a shopkeeper, a bar owner and a local councillor in Pau.

Sadly, aged just 52, Robert Paparemborde died from pancreatic cancer. He left his wife Valerie, son Pierre and daughters France and Elsa.