11th August 2010
In Profile - Puig Aubert
Puig Aubert was arguably the greatest French rugby league footballer of all-time. Over a sixteen year professional career he would play for Carcassonne, Les Catalans, Celtic de Paris and Castelnaudary winning five French championships and four French cups along with representing the French national side on a total of forty-six occasions. His position of choice was at fullback and after his retirement in 1960 he would go on to coach Carcassonne and France along with becoming head French national selector for several years.
Aubert was actually born Robert Aubert Puig, but when he signed as a teenager for Carcassonne, there were several other established players that shared the same surname that a local newspaper editor printed his name back-to-front to avoid confusion and it ending up sticking and he became the most famous of them all.
His nickname "Pipette" was a reference to his smoking habits, which at several stages saw him smoking on the field. Quite famously in a game against Wigan, he actually caught the ball whilst holding a cigarette in his other hand. While he often had unusual habits for a sportsman, there was no denying his talent, he was a master at kicking in play and in overall attack he was both unorthodox and unpredictable. Aside from his playing skill, he developed a reputation based on his somewhat eccentric attitude or charismatic manner. He was known to not tackle a player if he believed it would demonstrate the fault of his team-mates for not previously making the tackle, a cause of some controversy during his career.
The pinnacle of Aubert's career was on the 1951 tour of Australasia, when he played in twenty-five of France's twenty-nine matches, and scored a record 221 points. Aubert's performances in 1951 earned him his country's Champion of Champions title - the first time a footballer from any code had been so honoured.
In 1988 he was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of Fame.