You have formalized your departure from Pau to join Brive: was it difficult to make that decision?
Not because my relationship was quite conflicted with the Section staff, because I didn’t have much playing time, for me it was a rather easy decision to make. When I was offered a new challenge also at a big club, I accepted. I didn’t think much about giving my consent.
Everyone acknowledged that you put in a lot of effort to prepare last summer, but you played little. There is this feeling that you could not have done more …
For my part, indeed, I could do no more. I arrived ready to resume. I was asked to be fit, I was in great shape. I had good feedback on the first games I played during the 2021/2022 season. Then there were coaching options, dangers, I also had some small physical issues. One season, it can turn quickly, in one direction or the other. There, it didn’t go well. Is it like that. The profiles of the players used in the second line made me understand that it no longer corresponded to the expectations of the coach. From that point on, you need to move on and build something elsewhere.
Has this season allowed you to grow? Or to learn things about yourself?
It just taught me how to deal with my frustration. This is what he taught me. Otherwise, he didn’t teach me much.
You will have demonstrated your seriousness and your ability to meet the requirements of a very high level sport …
Yes, of course. I was asked to arrive in good shape, I arrived in good shape. If I had arrived unprepared, I would not have respected the club, I would not have respected myself. It would have put a radius on the wheels for the future. I had no interest in acting differently. But in reality the efforts required are considerable: to get in shape at the beginning of the physical preparation, it means that you have to work hard during all the holidays to catch up and shine. Last summer Sébastien (Piqueronies) had just arrived, he took care of the truck keys, I had to prove and prove that I could play with his game system.
You didn’t have a single club interested in your profile – what motivated your decision to join Brive?
It’s a club that has always interested me more or less. I always had an eye on what was going on there: the mood, the game produced, the history of the club. The environment also attracted me. It’s a club that can allow me to realize myself 100% in my first passion, which is rugby. And on top of that, in Brive there are many opportunities to take advantage to flourish: discovering the region, practicing hunting, which is my second passion. It is an ideal destination for my family to flourish as well. I am convinced that I will find a good balance for my family and rugby. That’s why the choice was pretty easy to make.
You arrived in Pau in 2018: what will you remember from your time in the Section?
For now, it’s a bit tricky to answer that question. To make a decision like this so quickly, I’m a little frustrated. I go out the back door … I want to remember that I would have spent four seasons defending the colors of a club that deserves to stay in the Top 14, as we showed looking for maintenance for three seasons in a row. From a personal point of view, I will also remember that my daughter was born in this region: I will always have a bond with Bearn. I hooked up with the fans, the people who work at this club. It is with a bitter taste that I leave the club. Going like this hurts a lot. And honestly.
When you leave, what message would you like to convey to Paul’s followers?
I want to tell them to always believe in their club. Although sometimes these things can happen in the world of rugby, you always have to believe in your club and keep supporting them like they do. They are there every weekend – it’s huge what they do. I also have a thought for those who travel alone, who have never given up even in the bad times. Continuing is important to us. Let them know that it really makes us feel good.