France make Olympic amends 92 years late on a historic day for rugby

There was less violence than in 1924 as a worthy Olympic sport made a welcome return to the Games almost a century after it departed in shame

The last time they played rugby at the Olympics the game ended in a mass brawl between 15 Americans and a few hundred furious Frenchmen. The sport’s comeback, the best part of a century later, may have taken place in a mostly empty scaffolding stadium two hours outside Rio’s city centre, but at least no one tried to invade the pitch to pick a fight with the winning team. And while the few people who were there did have to watch a lonely MC try to persuade 10,000 empty plastic chairs to join him for a call-and-response chorus of Sweet Caroline, none of the players were knocked cold by an ornery old man wielding a walking stick, which is exactly what happened to the USA’s Gideon Nelson back in 1924. By the Olympics’ own measures, then, this was a great success.

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