“It was the end of last season that left a lot of bitterness, regrets, frustration for many reasons. There is a world between the first and second part of the season. Between February and April we had a lot of injuries, difficulties with the squad, it was not smooth. Then, in May, we failed to trigger a dynamic. And in June, we didn’t find that team cohesion that makes you fight to be champion. We regret because we feel that we have not exploited our full potential.
When we finished last season, I was almost convinced that it was the injuries that had put us there. He obviously contributed a lot, but it’s not just that, it’s not a coincidence. »
2 Responsibilities and new leaders
“I have rethought the way I work with my staff, I will seek to develop this responsibility. And don’t wait for the coach, the captain or the squad to tell each other that we played a bad game. It will lead us to a strong commitment, I want the guys to be authentic, to tell the truth. This will be my big challenge. Lack of leadership? We have worked on it, there are things that will change. I think the time is right. We have listed eight players that interest us. We have to talk to them. We will keep some from last year but we can integrate other players, I think of guys like Maxime Lamothe, Kane Douglas, obviously Maxime Lucu, Romain Buros, Yoram Moefana, young players. It’s not final yet, we need to know if they’re interested and how to set it up. »
3 Hard to replace Cameron Woki
“Before the departure of Cameron (Woki), we had already lost an 8 with the surprise departure of Ma’ama (Vaipulu), at this time of the season it is not easy. Cameron’s departure? We hadn’t imagined it, but that’s life. The paths parted. The difficulty is that it happened very late, it happened on the last day of the transfers. When you want to replace players at this level, you have to do it a year or two in advance.
We ended up with two third lines less. We had several options, Sale band players (the Preez twins) but the door closed. We are looking for an opportunity for another third line but we are in no rush. We have good youngsters like Pierre Bochaton and Jean-Baptiste Lachaise. It’s a great opportunity for them, it’s up to them to take advantage of it. What is important is to look for the 8. We have Bastien (Vergnes) who can play there, Alban (Roussel) as well, Antoine (Miquel) who we really like in this profile. We chose Caleb Timu (Australian international). It’s a risk to take. We had several options but this was the one that seemed the easiest to do even if I didn’t play for a year. He is a player with a profile that we do not have, a bit in the same style as Scott Higginbotham (2019-2021), hand players, with direct runs, who do a lot of duels. An offensive player and complementary to our other third lines. »
4 South Africa and Toulouse to start
“The trip to Durban against the Sharks in January? This upsets a lot of things. We will spend a very long week there, in a priori better conditions than at home, a very humid place. We will have to approach it while being fresh because the journey will necessarily be tiring. Beyond the problems of logistics, organization and preparation of the match that this can cause us, there is an exciting side, which adds a bit of spice. You have to live it as a very beautiful experience.