This is called rapid and even meteoric rise. Evan Urruzmendi will start next season in charge of a Pro D2 game, ten years after debuting the whistle in the mouth. It was on June 15, at the end of the National and Federal 1 seasons, that the 26-year-old from Saint-Jean-de-Luz learned the news. “That’s when I realized how lucky I was to be able to discover the professional world, and inevitably you look back at the road you’ve traveled to get there.”
A half surprise since he already did part of the referees of Federal 1 to officiate in National. “Twenty games from last seasonhe says, plus five on the edge of the field, on the sidelines, in Pro D2.” But at 26, Evan Urruzmendi hopes to be “tested” by the veterans of the second division. “It’s normal, they do it at the start of every game. It’s up to me to show them that they won’t be able to do anything. It’s a balance that needs to be found: being uncompromising, putting enough distance, all excellent in the exercise of a pedagogue. Then avoid being too present too, we’re still there to serve the game.”
“A big change”
The one who started rugby at the age of five, at the Saint-Jean-de-Luz club, will continue to lead his double life, between the whistle and the the family seafood import/export business. “It’s an opportunity that I have, and that fortunately allows me to have time to referee.” And it’s time to get ready to put on the suit in the second division. Physical preparation first, “because at this level everything goes (much) faster. The pace, the collisions, the intensity. Mistakes also pay in cash. As for the referee, the job of placement and decision-making should be more specific.” But also about the other news for Evan Urruzmendi. “There are additional tools that will appear compared to what I had before. If it was just television, communication during meetings as well. It’s a job that I will do with my coach and in the first games. video is a big change. A fabulous tool, but you have to use it wisely at risk and it’s a habit to learn, a way of doing the things I need to learn as quickly as possible to be efficient.”
To perfect his preparation, Evan Urruzmendi has the support of a coach, “Jean-Luc Rebollal, video referee in the Top 14”. But it also has another sponsor in the middle: Vivien Praderie. “We know each other well from the time he was here. (coach of the Biarritz Olympique Rugby association, editor’s note), he has seen me evolve and although today he is part of the Occitània committee, we have maintained ties and it is interesting to be able to rely on various opinions to continue growing”. Not forgetting the example of Thomas Charabas, another Basque referee who has evolved among the professionals and who somehow also experienced a first rise to this level with the Pro D2 at the age of 24 and the Top 14 two years later . “He is another role model, especially when you see how he reconciles his work as an emergency doctor at the hospital in Bayonne and his passion for refereeing.”
In federal from 2 to 21 years
of one “rugby family”throws the youngest of the brothers (he has a sister, editor’s note). in arbitration on an idea of his mother. “Like all children, I wanted to become a professional rugby player. But I tried refereeing, then at the center of hope in Bayonne, and I realized that I had more ability to progress in this discipline. In the end, I could be more.interesting to continue on this path 100%. One season at Federal 3, then he was 20 years old. Then three years at Federal 2 and three at Federal 1 and National. Place now at the top professional level, with the first weekend of competition on August 26th. Are you looking forward to the Top 14 someday? “It’s still a goal, as a source of motivation to always do well, to always do better, but I don’t want to burn my wings. We’ll see in a few years… I’ll try. live up to the expectations placed on me at Pro D2.”
Evan Urruzmendi started his summer preparation with the Rouen – Vannes game on Saturday 6 August (Vannes win 33-7, ndr). “A taste, but also a confirmation that this is what I want to do!” Next week will find the other first and second division referees training in Lot-et-Garonne. Before finding out what his first poster will be. The beginning of a new chapter for the one who has been fired at the Stade Hendayais five years ago.