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Here Come the Frogs!
Posted by southstander on April 04 2005 - 11:18:14

Cala Millor Rhino?

Sacré bleu, and ooh-la-la!

It's time to dust off the beret and bring out the garlic necklace!

Okay, so we’ve got SM Pia in the 5th round of the cup but who the heck are they? Puig-Aubert has the answers:

Where is Pia?

Pia is to Perpignan what Otley is to Leeds a small town a couple of miles north, situated on a salt marsh a couple of miles in land from the Mediterranean sea.

Who are they?

SM Pia are the ‘Flying Donkeys’ that’s who!

The ‘Burro de Pia’ is a popular and non too complimentary Catalan folk tale. Apparently a thistle had started to grow at the top of Pia’s bell tower and being unable to get at it themselves the local elders came up with the idea of hoisting a donkey up to the top via a pulley so that it would eat the offending item. Unsurprisingly the ‘flying donkey’ was strangled on its journey up but in the same way as Hartlepool’s residents will always be known as the ‘Monkey hangers’ the son’s and daughters of Pia are the ‘Flying donkeys’.

The rugby team adopted the nickname enjoying the comparisons with the obstinate, determined donkey.

The squad

Pia’s squad is largely made of local French players but also have some Antipodean journeymen to bolster their ranks in Dean Bosnich, Brett O’Farrel and Papua New Guinea’s 2000 World Cup player Tom O’Reilly who had a short and largely unsuccessful spell with Warrington in 2001/02.

The Star

The one notable star is international Maxime Grésèque, who you might have seen playing for France in last autumn’s European Nation’s Cup. The goal kicking stand off took Keighley apart in the 4th round with 3 tries, 8 goals and a field goal and London Skolars in the 3rd round with 4 tries and 9 goals!

Averaging 31.5 points a game in the Challenge Cup this year the former UTC man is the one player to watch out for – if only for the fact he is Cala Millor Rhino’s long lost twin.

How will they perform?

Pia are to French rugby what Castleford are in the UK: a small club who will always raise their game against larger more glamorous sides and take great pride in frequently upsetting the odds.

Like all French sides Pia will love to attack from any position and rattled up 56 points against Keighley and 58 against London Skolars so the Leeds defence will need to be focussed as the Frenchmen will provide good value entertainment.

This shouldn’t be a major hurdle for Leeds but the occasion and the match promise to provide good entertainment for everyone in attendance.

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