This is a story of one of the toughest men in sport. Meet Wayne ‘Buck’ Shelford, a New Zealand rugby legend.
Buck was a notable victim of the infamous “Battle of Nantes”, one of the most aggressive games of rugby ever witnessed. During the game a French boot found its way into Shelford’s groin, somehow ripping his scrotum and leaving him with one testicle hanging free.
Shelford was caught at the bottom of a ruck 20 minutes into the game, losing four teeth, and sustained a large tear to his scrotum courtesy of a stray French boot.
Incredibly, Shelford had his injury stitched on the sideline and played on until deep into the second half, when a knock to the head left him concussed and unable to continue.
The Daily Telegraph.
The aggression of the French rugby team was unprecedented, and many of the All Blacks suspected foul play. It would later transpire that many of the French players were pepped up on amphetamines, a reasonable explanation for there violent physicality.
“When I came out of the tunnel and I saw them, I looked into the eyes of many of the players as I walked past them, and their eyes did not say that they were going into a game against the All Blacks,”
“Their eyes just looked like they were on something, and I could not prove it.”
The French team doctor at the time, Jacques Mombet, told Ballester that the Nantes Test was the most obvious example of French players using amphetamines.
He said New Zealand realised their opponents were “loaded” and made a complaint to the International Rugby Board, which eventually led to a clampdown.