Kélian Galletier (Montpellier) on the 2018 final against Castres: “It will still be a pain”

“What memories do you have of this final?
It was my first final at the Stade de France, although I had already played for the French national team, it was a great event. We were proud to return this club to the final seven years after 2011, we had a great season, so we had a different status at the time. And it is a great disappointment. We left very disappointed.

From the start of the match, like the fouls missed by Ruan Pienaar, do you think that something is wrong?
Given the score (29-13), on the game, there is nothing to say … We just missed it. Also because Castres played a great game and knew how to beat us. It’s the “beauty” of a final, knowing how to be there on D-Day to be champion and that’s what Castres did that day.

“The further the game went, the more we got rid of it. When you feel something slipping away, you put a lot of pressure on yourself and end up playing the other way around … “

You finish first in the regular season, you crush Lyon in half, was there some kind of overconfidence?
No, I don’t remember … We were placed as ultra-favorites but we were focused on ourselves, to try to repeat the performance of the semifinal which, for once, was very good. Unfortunately, we missed the final. The further the game went, the more we got rid of it. We saw that the game was slipping away from us, we were all trying to do well, but in big games like this, when you feel that something is slipping away from us, you put a lot of pressure and you end up playing the other way around …

During the season, despite your dominance in the standings, had you already played these types of matches?
There had been some away games during the season we missed out. It was a bit the same in that final. At the same time, in the end, everything is different. Everything restarts and you have to manage to ignore what happened before. It’s easier said than done. When you don’t have a final experience, and that was the case for most of the team by chance, it counts. I remember I had a different pressure, you get into this stage, it’s awesome. I had played with the French national team but it’s not almost the same stadium, it’s summer, there are all these fans, it’s a club match, the red carpet …

“I had played for the French national team at the Stade de France, but it’s almost not the same stadium. It’s summer, there are all these fans, it’s a club match, the red carpet …”

You have a very difficult start to the season behind you. Having trouble getting back?
The following year is often tricky for the champion, so imagine for the finalist. We had a lot of problems, we had taken a big hit because we had big ambitions. We wanted it more than anything and we missed this last step after a very long season and a lot of effort. We had to digest it, it was very hard. We have chained a few defeats, including the entrance of the Castres home, and it puts us to the test. It had taken us six months to lift our heads.

Did this defeat also mark a turning point in club politics, the beginning of the end of the “South African” era?
I haven’t seen it that way. Many things have happened since then, there have been several lives almost since 2018 (river). And Covid with all that! It was a phase at the club … I’m more marked by the fact that I had a great season, one of the best in the history of this club – record of points, record of victories – and I don’t forget that. . In retrospect, we were ” only ” runners-up and it’s still a chance to play a final in the end. I hope we get to the end this year.

Following the final, you toured New Zealand with the French national team …
And yes, Monday (the final was played on a Saturday). I was with Benjamin Fall and we had found Mathieu Babillot (the Castrais) on the plane. It was weird, but Mathieu is a really good guy. We congratulated him, we imagined his joy at winning and he respected our pain, let’s say.

And you also make very good matches …
Yes, yes, it was an amazing year for me on a personal level. I had a great season, I played well in New Zealand, in fact I was just missing that title.

Is this final still the biggest regret of your career so far?
Yeah Al that sounds pretty crap to me, Looks like BT aint for me either. I don’t like the word regret in fact, whatever happened happened, but of course it would have been something else in my life if we had won. It will be a pain, a suffering, a failure. »

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