Former French flanker, Serge Betsen says he never intentionally set out to play international Rugby for 10 years, earn 63 caps and win a number of team and individual accolades along the way, as playing with his friends is what got him involved in the sport when he moved to Paris from his country of birth, Cameroon, at age 10.
Serge played club Rugby at Biarritz Olympique for 17 years, before joining London Wasps for the last 4 years of his professional career and he describes his experiences at either team. Having retired from the French national team in 2008 and then completely from professional Rugby in 2012, Serge insists that he ended his career without regrets and looked forward to the next chapter of his life. Although, during his 20 years as a Rugby player, Serge was, and still is, known worldwide as one of the best flankers of the professional era with bone crunching tackles made on his opponents, which earned him the nickname “The Grim Reaper”. Serge confesses that his resilience and determination on the Rugby field came from what a coach had told him as a youngster that teamwork and fearless tackling was more important than scoring tries. The support and values his single mother taught him and his six siblings, influenced and motivated him as a player to constantly improve.
Even though Serge dropped out of University when Rugby turned professional, he is adamant that education is important and completed his courses later, which assisted him with his business career after retirement. Serge is now the founder and Director of Serge Betsen Consulting, which brings together his passion for sport and business. He offers companies workshops on teambuilding, wellbeing and performance and enhancing the mindset of employee’s, by drawing on his experiences as a professional sportsman.
The Serge Betsen Rugby Program is a relatively new venture in Serge’s post-Rugby career with its creation in 2014. Serge speaks about how he developed this business out of frustration with the fact that nearly all the French schools in England do not offer Rugby to its students. So far, Serge has introduced his Rugby program to 10 French Schools based in London and is beginning to assist some English schools that struggle to find coaches.
Apart from his Consultancy and Coaching businesses, Serge’s biggest passion is the Serge Betsen Academy he set up while he was still a player in 2004. This incredible charity is helping up to 500 underprivileged children in Cameroon with their education and health each year. A center was recently built to accommodate these children and Serge says he is in the process of building more, which feature a library, nursery and a computer center to assist with their education. Donations and any other support from businesses is much appreciated, Serge says and talks about his Academy being a charity partner of The Rugby Business Network, which has opened a number of doors through making connections with companies and individuals alike.
“It’s important to keep focus on something else other than Rugby, because you never know, you could injure yourself. If you rely on just one thing, it’s going to be difficult to adapt yourself in the future.” – Serge Betsen (Director of Serge Betsen Consulting / Former France Flank)