Originally from Châteaurenard in the Bouches-du-Rhône, Étienne Herjean (31 years old, 1.98 m, 105 kg) settled in Carcassonne. The third line, of Oyonnax, is expressed for the first time in its new colors before the second friendly match this Thursday in Le Pontet (7 p.m.).
After Toulon, Narbonne, Brive and Oyonnax, Carcassonne is his fifth club. Is it always a question?
Absolutely, wanting to be the best I can be. For me, it’s a new beginning.
Why did you choose Carcassonne in the United States?
I was at the end of my contract at Oyonnax. At the end of the physical preparation at the end of July 2021, I injured my ankle, I was three and a half months old. I started back in December and realized I wasn’t on the roster too much anymore. So I wanted to recover, and I had some contact with Carcassonne which was fourth at the time. I liked the project, then I met up with old teammates and coaches. Finally, I knew the mood that exists at USC, but also the ambition of a club that rises from year to year… I combined my family project, since my wife is from Narbonne , and my professional project. So it was all good to go back down to Aude and sign here.
As USC’s opponent with Narbonne and Oyonnax, how do you see this line-up?
Carcassonne is the typical Pro D2 club, which has strong values with a great conquest and a lot of fight. A dangerous team because of their game, their way of testing shots. A difficult team to manage. We can see the evolution of this club since its incorporation into the professional world in 2010. A club that improves with time, even if from time to time it encounters small problems due to injuries and the depth of its template, for a lower budget. than those of the big teams… But he’s still there and shows, especially with this more than deserved historic classification last season, that he has more than his place at this level.
US Carcassonne: final test against Provence Rugby, before serious stuff
You need to be optimistic and have ambition
Great players have left USC (Ursache, Azar, Sauveterre, Doumenc, Huguet…), do you think you could be given a leadership role?
It is good that there is a mix of young and more experienced players. Afterwards, everyone assumes their responsibilities and I like that. I will do my best to contribute my experience to this group. If I don’t mind being captain, as I was in Narbonne, that’s not the status I’m running for.
It’s been seven weeks since you returned to training, what do you think about the quality of this 2022-2023 Carcassonne vintage?
There was still a lot of turnover in the squad with the departure of key players, very talented players, for whom Carcassonne served as a springboard. Other players have stopped, so we’re kind of at the end of the cycle. And it must be renewed. I think there is a very good, rich and complementary template. It can be very interesting, now we need to get the mayo to stick and create something together. I think we will have to be patient. It might take a while, but we have what it takes to have a good season.
Do you think this new squad has the ability to do as well as last season?
Maybe it’s too early to tell. But I think you need to be optimistic and ambitious. Although we know that it will be very hard, that the places will be expensive, that there are many more contenders than elected, we will try to do at least as well as last season. (a historic play-off loss against Nevers 24 to 12, editor’s note). That would be great.
Pro D2: Carcassonne’s American scrum-half Pierre Pagès will be out for 5-6 weeks
We are still getting into the heart of the matter and we are getting closer to the resumption of the championship
How did you feel after the game lost to Leucate last Thursday (8-13)?
Although friendlies are basically preparation, at the end of the game we were still frustrated by the defeat. As competitors, we love to win and hate to lose. Now, we still hadn’t really worked on our attacking strategy, our rugby… We tested our mood, fighting spirit, defense… And these are positive things. But despite everything, in the end, there was the frustration of defeat.
What do you expect from the second round at Pontet this Thursday evening (7pm)?
I think it will be an even tougher game than Leucate. We are still getting into the heart of the matter and we are getting closer to the resumption of the championship (August 26 in Colomiers, editor’s note). If in Leucate it was a bit messy on both sides offensively, we hope to find some adjustments and corrections in this sector, in order to be able to see a slightly more interesting match at this level.
Before the opening of the championship on August 26 in Colomiers (7:30 p.m.)…
He is one of the serious customers of Pro D2. Especially in all things combat and mood. And while it will take time to fine-tune our rugby, it will be a test of the team’s values. Now, it puts a lot of pressure on us to start with a sure bet in the championship.