Legendary flanker Serge Betsen tells the Guardian that he’s ‘thankful for 20 years in rugby after an emotional journey from Cameroon to Paris to Wasps.’
"You're going to make me cry now," says Betsen to the journalist, as he recalls leaving Cameroon as a nine-year-old boy and arriving in Paris, and of the journey he has taken to London via a life in rugby.
At the beginning on 2011, Betsen reflected on his achievements as he enjoyed his final season and clashed with his oldest club rivals, Toulouse, and a month later, on the night before England played France in the Six Nations, a benefit dinner was held in his honour in London.
Betsen’s 2002 World Cup performance, when he helped France win the grand slam, was arguably his most remarkable. Clive Woodward claimed that England had been beaten "single-handedly" by Betsen.
Betsen has retired from international rugby but his impact remains, as he has inspired a wave of African-born players into rugby. He also been a victim of racism but underplays his own suffering.
"Sometimes I heard the racism but I didn't feel it. My play often frustrated people and they responded stupidly. They said the first stupid thing that comes into their head. And that was a racist thing. But I never said anything back, I just kept playing."
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017