Serge Betsen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Serge Betsen
Serge Betsen.jpg
Betsen at London Wasps
Full name Serge Betsen-Tchoua
Date of birth (1974-03-25) 25 March 1974 (age 40)
Place of birth Kumba, Cameroon
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Weight 98 kg (15 st 6)
Occupation(s) Professional Rugby Footballer
Rugby union career
Playing career
Position Flanker
Amateur clubs
Years Club / team
1985–1996 Club Sportif de Clichy
correct as of 5 July 2014.
Professional / senior clubs
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1996–2008
2008–2012
Biarritz Olympique
London Wasps
172
79
(65)
(35)
correct as of 5 July 2014.
National team(s)
Years Club / team Caps (points)
1997–2007 FranceFrance 63 (45)
correct as of 5 July 2014.
Official website
http://www.sergebetsen.net

Serge Betsen Tchoua (born 25 March 1974) is a French former rugby union player who played as a flanker for London Wasps and Biarritz at club level and for France internationally. He is generally considered to be one of the top flankers of the professional era (post-1995) of rugby union.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Born in Kumba, Cameroon, Betsen moved to France with his mother and six siblings when he was nine, settling in the Clichy suburb of Paris. He played his first competitive rugby for the local Clichy based Club Sportif before joining the southern giants Biarritz when he was just 17. Unlike many flankers, he plays on both sides of the scrum with equal vigor. He is also regarded as one of the strongest tacklers in the game, and is renowned for his high work-rate on the field.

Betsen made his first appearance for France in 1997, as a replacement against Italy, but did not receive his second call-up until the 2000 Six Nations Championship. Thereafter he became a regular starter in the national team.

Nicknamed la Faucheuse (the Grim Reaper), Betsen's finest moment came during the 2002 Six Nations Championship, in the match against England, when his relentless man-marking of Jonny Wilkinson eventually resulted in the fly-half's replacement and paved the way for a 20–15 victory. Later, England's coach, Clive Woodward, said of Betsen: "“He is the only player that I can say was the single-handed reason we lost a match." [1] France went on to win the Grand Slam[2] and Betsen was named France's International Player of the Year. He was an automatic selection for the 2003 Rugby World Cup and scored France's only try in the semi-final loss to England.

In 2005 he was cited following an incident during Biarritz's Heineken Cup match against London Wasps in which Wasps centre Stuart Abbott suffered a broken leg; the complaint was dismissed after a disciplinary hearing found that "the trip, while intentional, was not premeditated" and had happened "in the heat of the moment".[3]

Betsen was renowned as a fearless tackler,[1] but with increasing age he started to pick up more frequent injuries and he missed the 2005 Autumn internationals after fracturing his cheekbone in a match against Toulouse. Despite this, he continues to be a formidable tackler: in the 2007 Six Nations Championship, which France won, he completed 56 tackles, 12 more than any other player in the tournament.

Toward the end of the 2005 season, Betsen held talks with English club Leicester Tigers about a possible move from France, but in the end he decided to stay at Biarritz and signed a new three-year contract.

On 16 January 2008 Betsen announced that he was retiring from international rugby with immediate effect.[4]

On 11 May 2008, it was revealed he was signing for London Wasps.[5][6]

Betsen made a good start with Wasps performing well and earning respect from the Wasps supporters, for the A side whilst recovering from injury, before moving into the first XV. During the 2009 6 Nations championship he was made Wasps captain in the absence of the senior England players and friend Rafa Ibanez (though retirement caused by injury). The club announced that he would share the captaincy for the remainder of the 2008/09 season with Phil Vickery, though his performances as captain and 2-man of the match awards in quick succession, could see him keeping the role on a sole basis. Betsen left London Wasps in June 2011 and announced his retirement from rugby at his "Jubilee" game in Biarritz on 6 June 2012.

Betsen signed with London Scottish as defence coach for the 2012–2013 season.

Betsen is a member of the 'Champions for Peace' club, a group of 54 famous elite athletes committed to serving peace in the world through sport, created by Monaco-based international organisation Peace and Sport.

He also created the Serge Betsen Academy in 2004. This charity aims to help underprivileged children in Cameroon, his native country. On top of introducing this children to Rugby, the charity supports the children's education and access to basic healthcare.

More recently, in 2013, he created another charity, the French Legends, which reunites former rugby internationals and professionals in order to participate in charity matches and events to support other charities.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Barnes, Stuart (20 January 2008). "Master of mayhem Serge Betsen will be sorely missed". London: Times Online. 
  2. ^ "Betsen confirms his retirement". Planet-Rugby.com. 16 January 2008. 
  3. ^ "Betsen free to play against England". ABC News. 10 February 2005. 
  4. ^ "Betsen calls time on France duty". BBC Sport. 17 January 2008. 
  5. ^ Parsons, David (11 May 2007). "Sackey worry for Wasps". London: Times Online. Retrieved 23 May 2010. 
  6. ^ "Wasps sign French ace". Sky Sports. 22 May 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2008. 

External links[edit]