Rugby: Nicknamed ‘Arm wrestling’, former international Paul Biémouret is no more

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Former third row of the XV of France and SU Agen, champion of France in 1966, the Gersois Paul Biémouret died on Wednesday November 23 at the age of 79.

He has been nicknamed “Arm Wrestling” for his power, commitment and efficiency in fighting for possession. Pierre Biémouret, better known by his first name Paul (his middle name), died on Wednesday in Toulouse at the age of 79, following a long illness, leaving behind a great void among those who knew him over the course of a rich career.

Born in Mas-d’Auvignon in the Gers on 11 April 1943, this former fierce full-back had lived through the heyday of SU Agen, with whom he had lifted the Brenno Scudetto in 1966, after a final won by a small point against Dax (9-8). Champion of France, Paul Biémouret also reached the final of the Challenge Yves-du-Manoir in 1970, this time losing to Toulon.

This consistency at the highest level allowed him to honor his first selection with the XV of France in 1969, against England (defeat 22-8), during the Tournament V Nations. He will join another Gersois, the Aoutputin Jacques Fouroux, but also many great players such as Jo Maso, Pierre Villepreux, Jean-Claude Skrela or the Spanghero brothers. Paul Biémouret notably took part in a tour of South Africa in 1971 and also scored a memorable try against England in Colombes in 1972, his only try for France. He played his last international match against Ireland in 1973 (6-4 defeat).

“He loved life, he had many friends”

After his career at SU Agen, Paul Biémouret returned to his native Gers to play for Fleurance and Condom, with whom he was crowned French second division champion in 1978. He then turned to a coaching career, and in particular he refereed on the bench of the Catania team, in Italy.

Paul BIÉMOURET left yesterday. He was an emblematic player of the XV of France, alongside Jo Maso, Walter and Claude Spanghero in particular. Nicknamed the armwrestler, he made his mark on the French team and in SU Agen.
My deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/3sHTU7p4Bb

—Bernard Laporte (@BernardLaporte_) November 24, 2022

Former coach of Lombez Samatan, L’Isle-Jourdain, Auch, Agen and Albi, now manager of L’Entente Astarac-Bigorre XV, Henry Broncan pays tribute to this Gers rugby figure. “He was a Gersois. One of our country. Today I would compare him to Anthony Jelonch. They have a lot of resemblance. He wasn’t a brilliant player perhaps, but so effective in reordering, a great tackler who didn’t use brutality. He didn’t need to fight. He didn’t cross the pitch but he was the kind of player you need in a team. He loved life, had many friends and was well liked by all. Relatable in private, “He was a selfless player. I tell you, the Jelonch of his time. At the time, the big club was Agen, when we had great qualities, it was normal to go there. After his career in Lot-et-Garonne, it was Maurice Mességué (Editor’s note: the “Pope Plant”), who brought him to Fleurance. “

Ex-husband of former MP Gisèle Biémouret, with whom he had two children, Anne and Jean, Paul Biémouret lived his last years on his farm, which he rarely left. To his family and loved ones, La Dépêche du Midi sends his most sincere condolences.

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