the magician Stéphane Prosper has got his new trick

Twenty years after winning the club’s last title as a player, the Mons coach can do it again this Sunday against Bayonne, and write a little more about his legend as a specialist in Pro D2. Because if the old opener can boast of having kept Agen twice with the youngest …

Twenty years after winning the club’s last title as a player, the Mons coach can do it again this Sunday against Bayonne, and write a little more about his legend as a specialist in Pro D2. Because if the former debutant can boast of having kept Agen twice with the smallest budget in the Top 14, it is at the lower level where he has signed his biggest hits.

“He’s the Ninth Guy of the Pro D2,” says Patrick Milhet, director of Mons. The numbers speak for themselves: Prosper are eight seasons of Pro D2, six finals, four promotions (1). Maybe he’ll add one on Sunday. But whatever happens, the magician has already done another spectacular trick driving the Stade Montois to Montpellier.

Extreme demand

It would be too easy to reduce everything to one man, but it would be difficult not to make the connection with his return to the club at the beginning of the season and the transformation of a team that a few months before was struggling to maintain. It was during this painful period when Patrick Milhet, a former physical trainer turned coach, realized that he absolutely needed to strengthen the trio he formed with Julien Tastet and Rémi Talès. “Before, with a smaller staff, they couldn’t do everything,” said Léo Coly. Stéphane is the added stone that brought everyone’s work to market. »

“He brought us his serenity, his experience and his perspective on the championship,” confirms young coach Julien Tastet (35). Stéphane Prosper was released after receiving a call from the Stade Montois, six months after being sacked by Castres, then fighting in the Top 14. It was Patrick Milhet who picked up the phone, almost forcing his arrival to his leaders. and staff. The two men have been friends for fifteen years, when they trained with youngsters before succeeding with Marc Dal Maso (mounted in 2008 and 2012).

“His leitmotif is attention to detail. This way of saying that if everyone respects their role, we will win. It brings a lot of confidence. “

They only needed a few games last summer to spot the Tarusate mark in the Mons game: speed, incredible accuracy on the rucks and support tracks, assumed use of the kicking game to push the opponent into error . “We occupy the field more, we are much more patient, we keep the exchanges until we create a favorable context to counterattack. It’s something we didn’t work on last year, “admits Julien Tastet.

But the Prosper touch is an extreme requirement, and the obsession with leaving nothing to chance. “His main theme is attention to detail,” said winger Julien Cabannes. Everything counts for him, from the support run of a striker to the defensive withdrawal of a three-quarters. Every player must always be useful on the field. Even when you don’t have a ball, you have to think about the game and the situations. This way of saying that if everyone respects their role, we will win. It brings a lot of confidence, in the game system and in the approach of the matches. »

“He has proved himself”

At this level, he is especially adept at detecting and exploiting the opponent’s flaws. Prosper is a strategist who likes to see the game as a game of chess and is always one step ahead. He has also evolved a lot since his first stint at the club ten years ago. “We see that technically and tactically it is even more refined,” said Julien Cabannes. Scrubbing the top floor made him progress. »

The young coach at the time took the bottle (51 years old), leaving aside some ideals to focus on the essentials. “He often tells me: stop doing beautiful things, do things efficiently,” smiles Julien Tastet. More complete, therefore, but still limited to the Pro D2. “I do not understand why he is still at this level,” said Patrick Milhet. If I were president of the Top 14, I would call him first. He has proven himself. With few resources, he does very nice things. He is a strategist with a rugby analysis worthy of the elite. »

Where is the brake, then? Perhaps in this reserved character. To this demand in human relations as pronounced as the one he imposes in everything related to the game: “He has many reservations and it takes time to grant his confidence, but it is his nature. Madura, she is in her world, it is not necessarily easy every day “, admits her friend Milhet.

This is not without causing some friction with the players, especially with those who are not on their ballots. Although everyone praises their work and their ability to make progress. “We don’t necessarily behave very well, but he is a very good coach, very diligent, worried,” said a coach who has played less this season.

In Mont-de-Marsan, in a 100% local staff, it has (re) found the ideal setting to express its potential: it can focus exclusively on the field, its manager managing contracts, moods and communication external, an exercise he detests. . The results are there, and the Mons course allows him to return to the front line, a year and a half after the painful episode of Castres. “He was beaten, of course. I know he was taken badly,” says Patrick Milhet.

Leave a Comment