Where are they now: France’s 1998 Grand Slam winners

It has now been 21 years since a team recorded back-to-back Grand Slams but in April 1998, France did it in the most spectacular fashion.

It has now been 21 years since a team recorded back-to-back Grand Slams but in April 1998, France did it in the most spectacular fashion.

At Wembley, the home of football and Wales’ temporary home as the national stadium was being built, France were looking to make it eight successive Championship wins having seen off England, Scotland and then Ireland in successive matches.

Philippe Bernat-Salles had scored a try in every game, and was aiming to become the first player in the post-war era to score in every match and also win the Grand Slam.

He would achieve the latter, but was denied the former, a first-half try being disallowed.

That did little to detract from a glorious afternoon for Les Bleus, with a bleached-blonde Thomas Castaignède causing havoc with ball in hand.

Jean-Luc Sadourny and Xavier Garbajosa scored two tries apiece, with Stéphane Glas, Thomas Lièvremont and Fabien Galthié all crossing in the 51-0 victory.

Raphaël Ibañez lifted the trophy in his first season as captain but what has happened to the 15 men who started that game since?

One of the great full-backs of the 1990s, Sadourny scored the first two tries against Wales that day. Perhaps most famous for scoring ‘The Try from the End of the World’ as France beat the All Blacks in Auckland four years earlier, Sadourny played his last Test in 2001. He has since gone into the restaurant business, and runs two establishments, called Sadourny Café, based in Colomiers and just outside Toulouse.

Bernat-Salles narrowly missed out on scoring a try in every game of the 1998 Championship, but was one of the key factors in their Grand Slam. Like Sadourny, he finished his Test career in 2001, and like his full-back, has also gone into the restaurant business. As well that, Bernat-Salles is on the board at home club Biarritz, and also spent time as the president of the French national handball league.

Lamaison produced two of the great passes to set up tries for Stéphane Glas and Xavier Garbajosa with the versatile playmaker starting at outside centre on the day. Nicknamed Titou, his finest moment in a French jersey also came in London, masterminding a World Cup semi-final success over New Zealand at Twickenham the following year. Since retirement Lamaison has stepped away from professional rugby and gone into the renewable energy business. He is based just outside Bayonne and is particularly involved in the solar and wind energy sector.

Glas scored the fourth try for France at Wembley shortly before half-time after being put through by Lamaison. The centre continued playing until 2009 at club level before going into coaching, and has become a familiar face around the Top 14. He is currently the backs coach at Grenoble, having previously spent time at Montpellier and Oyonnax.

Garbajosa had won his first cap in the win over Ireland and the Grand Slam game saw him score his first two triesm,lop- for France. After spending the majority of his career at Toulouse, he began his coaching career at the same club looking after their youth section. He has been at La Rochelle since 2014 and is currently the backs coach. He has also coached the French Barbarians, alongside his 1998 captain Ibañez.

Although he did not score a try on the day, Castaignède was undoubtedly the star performer against Wales, making ground at will almost every time he touched the ball. After retiring in 2007, he has worked in the media both in France and England, as well as working in finance and insurance. Since 2017, he has been on the board for home town club Toulouse.

Not quite as well-known as Fabien Galthié, who came on to replace him, Carbonneau nevertheless has a claim to fame as the first player to win back-to-back European Cups at club level. It is all the more impressive when you consider he won the first playing at outside centre, and the second playing at scrum-half. After retiring in 2006, he has coached at Tarbes, Lannemezan and most recently Brive. He and brother Olivier, also a professional rugby player, created a clothing brand called Oliphil in 1998, celebrating its 20th anniversary last year.

One of the greats of the French game, Califano won 72 caps over a 13-year international career, while at club level he was the first Frenchman ever to play Super Rugby, doing so for the Auckland Blues. Nicknamed ‘Cali’ he has since gone into the media and is a well-known pundit on Eurosport while he also recently did a little coaching with the French age-group set-up.

The captain against Wales in his first season at the helm, Ibañez would go onto win 98 caps for his country, with only Fabien Pelous and Thierry Dusautoir having captained their country on more occasions. Since retiring in 2009 he has remained a familiar face on the rugby circuit, commentating for France Télévisions on the Championship, while also spending five years coaching Union Bordeaux-Bègles. He is about to embark on a new coaching venture as he heads to New Zealand to work in the Heartland Championship with Thames Valley.

Tournaire started in the front row against Wales, starting seven of the eight games over the course of the two Grand Slams. He was one of the very last players from this side to retire, eventually calling it quits in 2010, and went onto become the scrum coach at Carcassonne. He currently runs Chez Jo, a restaurant in Narbonne that was started by former boxer and Olympic silver-medallist Jo Gonzales.

Second row Brouzet packed down alongside long-time lock partner Pelous in the clash with Wales. The son of Yves Brouzet, the former France shot-put national record holder, he retired in 2005. He now works at Bordeaux-Bègles as director of development alongside president Laurent Marti.

France’s longest-serving captain until Thierry Dusautoir overtook him, Pelous is one of just three men to have played in every game over the course of the two Slams, along with Glas and Sadourny. This would be the second of four Slams, putting him in very select territory, and his 118 caps remain the most of any Frenchman to have played the game. Since retiring in 2009, he has worked as team manager of France Under-20s, as well as Toulouse, while he is now involved in the youth set-up with les Rouge et Noir. He has been on the FFR executive committee since 2008, and also runs a restaurant called Club 15 in Nailloux, to the south of Toulouse.

One of two brothers in the team that beat Wales, Marc Lièvremont went onto to become better known as France coach between 2008 and 2011, having previously led France Under-21s to the world title. In that time he won the Grand Slam in 2010 and led France to the World Cup final the following year. Since stepping down he has worked as a pundit with Canal + and is a familiar face in the French game.

Like Pelous, Magne is in the four Grand Slam club, and was a key part of the 1998 team in the back row. He played until 2007 and has done a number of different things since retiring, including coaching at Brive, France Under-20s and even the Greek national team. He is also a well-respected pundit on Eurosport and French radio.

Starting in the same back row as brother Marc, Thomas Lièvremont scored France’s third try against Wales, picking from the base of the scrum and powering over. Like the other two members of that back row, he also worked with France Under-20s after retiring, working alongside Magne. He also spent time coaching Dax and Bayonne and most recently coached Romania in 2018, while he has worked as a pundit for Canal +.