Talent d’Or award: a Societe Generale innovation

Autumn 1988. On the sidelines of a French Rugby Union match, the Talent d’Or is awarded for the first time. Sponsored by Societe Generale, this award has developed into an institution over the years in the rugby world.

Saturday 5 November 1988. At the final whistle, the spectators at the Stade Marcel Saupin in Nantes erupt into applause. Following a true team effort, including five tries, the French national team had secured a comprehensive 29-11 victory over Argentina. One year after surging to the final of the first Rugby World Cup, Les Bleus put on another fine display of their offensive talent, their tactical instinct and irreproachable team spirit. All smiles, a French player stepped up to the Antenne 2 (now France 2) cameras and a reporter handed him a microphone. It was fullback Serge Blanco, who put together a remarkable performance, playing the entire match with three tries to his name. After answering some questions, he received the "Talent d’Or", a still-unparalleled award that over the years has become a rugby world institution.

The initiative was spearheaded by Societe Generale, official partner of the Fédération française de rugby (FFR) and the French national team since 1987. The "Talent d’Or" is awarded based on a competition. The prize is given at the end of the match to the best player, as voted by television viewers. One participant, whose name is drawn at random, wins a prize provided by the bank—generally tickets to the French Rugby Championship final. It was an overwhelming success. Far from undermining the team spirit of rugby, it has the advantage of associating the man of the match with the name of the company. A criterion of excellence, to be emulated, that recalls the slogan "Conjugons nos talents" (let's combine our talents), which was Societe Generale's slogan at the time.

For more than 25 years, the "Talent d’Or" has led the general public to spontaneously associate rugby with Societe Generale. After going professional in 1995, its popularity continued among players and viewers. By recognising a fighting spirit, work ethic and pushing personal limits, it contributes to promoting rugby and its values. In the same spirit, as a partner of the Ligue nationale de rugby (LNR), the Group also sponsors the Trophée des Essais award for the clubs with the best attacking record during the season and the best result for the year.

© Historical Archives Societe Generale