At that time, in the 1960s, rugby was served by poets. On television, black and white, there was Roger Couderc: the color was in the subject. In the print media, "The team, the daily sport and the automobile", there was Denis Lalanne, whom Antoine Blondin, his friend, had nicknamed "The sixteenth man of the Fifteen of France".
Old Ovalie has just lost her bard. Lalanne, 93, died Saturday, December 7 in Biarritz. He was to receive in a few days the price of the French Academy for his latest novel. Premonitory title: God picks up the copies (Atlantica, 360 p., 15.90 euros).
Lalanne has raised her craft to the highest. Of the 'Copy' he has been a sports reporter for more than two generations. For L'Equipe, he covered rugby, tennis and then golf, a noble activity he told in Three bullets in the skin (La Martinière, 2011) – one of fifteen books, including five novels, which he wrote. Lalanne was a prince of sports reporting. He excelled in the paper seized on the spot, writing hot, after the whistle end of the game, when the sporting event was not yet trivialized by its omnipresence televised and when the words, the written, were completely part of the big story about sport.
"Tell Denis again"
The Academy was not mistaken. God picks up the copies has already been awarded by the Lamartine prize of the departments of France, whose jury is chaired by another rugby fanatic, the writer Denis Tillinac. In the quest for the right word, the fast-moving phrase, the overall detail, the ability to create or re-create a character, and to capture the drama and comedy part of the sport as in life, the reporter and the novelist Lalanne were one. During a large interview entrusted on June 30 to his alma mater, The Team, Lalanne took a word from the writer Angelo Rinaldi: the literature "Is a volatile substance that settles where it wants! "
He liked the post-match, the "Third half", he said. He was just as funny and brilliant in private when the young confreres begged for: "Tell Denis again". Lalanne did not just raise his elbow to arm his golf swing, a sport he practiced until he was 90 years old. His Three bullets in the skin, He told them a ball in the hand – Bordeaux, often, or some other dope to make the story sparkle. The cult of friendship was one of the elements of Lalanne's report.