RC Narbonnais: Thibault Clauzade, the passion for the oval ball in his veins

Arriving in Aude at the beginning of July, Thibault Clauzade left his Gers forever to discover professional rugby. The third line decided to take on a new challenge, having experienced everything under Auch’s shirt. Portrait of a new asset of the Racing Club Narbonnais.

Last Friday (August 5) on the lawn of Leucate, for Narbonne’s first friendly match (defeat 7-12), a player in a gray helmet lit up the meeting with his activity and his commitment. Under this helmet, Thibault Clauzade (24 years old, 1.83 m, 97 kg) is hidden, one of the new players of the Racing Club Narbonnais for the National 1.

And the least we can say is that during this match against Montauban he gave satisfaction to the Narbonnais staff and to Brice Mach, coach of the forwards: “He played an interesting game, even if it’s the first one. There’s debris to clean up, but he was very effective. Thibault has a lot of room for improvement.” For its premiere in its new colors, the third line experienced a special sensation: “In the beginning, it’s strange to open the shirt bag, see “orange and black” and wear other colors than the “white and red” of Auch (River).”

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It wasn’t an easy decision, but we have to move on

It was at the age of four that Thibault Clauzade set foot on a rugby field for the first time. During his early years, the boy followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Julien. First at ASF Fleurance, then at Auch, where he stayed for fifteen years. The third line did not go to a training center or follow a classical course. It is formed over the years and the experiences with his Gers club. At only 24 years old, this player has already known almost everything.

2017 saw FC Auch declare bankruptcy and disappear. At the same time, the Auch Rugby Club was formed and took over. The RCA therefore begins its history in the Division of Honor in 2017. New management, new staff and new coach, the page is turned. GrĂ©gory Menkarska, the new coach, who has followed Thibault since the junior category, decides to build his squad around him: “He is the only player who stayed at the club when he was playing for Honor. So it was obvious to build around him. He made great sacrifices. Compared to what he has done for this club, there was no talk of appointing- the captain, despite his young age”.

After experiencing three consecutive promotions, a title of French champion of Federal 3 in 2019, Thibault Clauzade makes the decision to change clubs and take on a new challenge. 1er Last July, he signed an agreement with Jean-Jacques Justumus, president of Auch, ending his contract that tied him to RCA until 2023. And in the process, he joined Racing Club Narbonnais for two seasons , a very well thought out decision. of this young player: “Professional rugby has always attracted me, and when Narbonne contacted me, Julien (Seron, editor’s note) he convinced me in my choice to come. It wasn’t an easy decision as I had a job I loved (responsible for soft mobility in the Gers, with many projects in his department, he had just obtained his civil service diploma, ed.), I was captain of Auch. But we have to move forward and here I am fully in the project.”

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A versatile and hard-working third line

Thibault Clauzade can play both in the third wing line and in the third central line. This 24-year-old player has a specific profile, as explained by Brice Mach: “He’s complete, he doesn’t talk much. It works, it’s very accurate. He is a profile we were looking for, he has natural leadership. That’s one of the points that jumped out at us, it’s a strong sign to captain Auch at his age and with a coach like Menkarska.” For his part, the Auch coach knows him very well: “He’s not a great puncher, but he’s in avoidance and has exceptional speed quality. With or without the ball, he’s amazing. no a to conjure he never defends it and when he can get a good candy, he gets it. Narbonne has got back our best player.”

If Auch will always remain in his heart, so much so that during his only week of vacation, he returned to Gers, he has now left his mark on RC Narbonnais: “An opportunity like this doesn’t happen twice in a career. It’s true that the pace is different from what I’ve known. I already knew a few players who come from Auch, like the Ducom brothers and Sylvain Abadie, so the integration was easy.”

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Racing’s season will really start on September 3 at the Sports Park (6.30pm), with an explosive first match against Nice. Not yet in Narbonne during the 2021 national semi-final, Thibault Clauzade has yet to hear about this opponent: “I understood that there was a good rivalry between Narbonne and Nice. So we know it will be tough, we have to work, prepare well and we will attack firmly this new season. Proximity with the supporters is very important. Having account in the calendar, we will need our supporters, and we count on them.”

With the experience he had at Auch, RCN will be able to count on Thibault Clauzade throughout the season, in difficult times as well as in the best.

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