|Full name||Raymond James French MBE|
|Born||23 December 1939|
Raymond James "Ray" French, MBE (born 23 December 1939) 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.
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.
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 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. 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.
- 2019 Anthony Thackeray - Sheffield Eagles
- 2020 Not awarded - no competition played due to the COVID-19 pandemic
- 2021 Craig Hall - Featherstone Rovers
- "Statistics at rugbyleagueproject.org". rugbyleagueproject.org. 31 December 2017. Retrieved 1 January 2018.
- Ray French takes his cup final leave
- Ashton's long road to Paris, via Leigh and Tyldesley Archived 22 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine The Guardian – 19 October 2007
- news.bbc.co.uk (27 September 2010). "Wigan's Pat Richards named 2010 Man of Steel". BBC Sport. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- "No. 59647". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2010. p. 16.
- "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.
- "New trophy named in recognition of Ray French". Love Rugby League. 15 August 2019. Retrieved 20 August 2019.
- "Sheffield Eagles win inaugural 1895 Cup". BBC Sport. 24 August 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2021.
- 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.