From its origins in the later nineteenth century, French rugby has been an important site for the construction of a variety of masculine, class-based, regional and national identities. The game's rise coincided with that of the popular press, and also with the emergence of specialised sporting publications at both the local and national levels. With a significant head-start on association football, particularly in the south-west of the country, rugby became associated with the defence of regional pride and local interests. This was a process invested in both morally and materially by newspapers and radio. With the advent of television, rugby was variously appropriated by national broadcasters and Gaullist politicians, who exploited its regional credentials at a time of rapid societal change. Since the game's professionalisation in 1995, and its resulting glocalisation', media-aware rugby entrepreneurs have sought new sporting and commercial strategies, which have ranged from provincial nostalgia to pragmatic cosmopolitanism.