Top 14 final. Loïc Jacquet (Castres): “Forgive people who don’t find us glamorous”

The military warrior Loïc Jacquet points to a third shield of Brennus, this Friday, in front of Montpellier.(© Icon Sports)

Double champion of France with Clermont (2010) therefore Castres (2018), the second line of CO Loic Jacquet (37) dreams of getting a 3e shield of Brennusthis Friday, June 24, against Montpellier. Although he admits that this poster is certainly not the sexiest of French rugby, the native of Saint Doulchard (Cher) wants to take to the streets in his last professional game, before hanging up his boots this summer.

News: At 37, we imagine that there is nothing more beautiful than finishing your career with an end …

Loic Jacquet: Yes, of course … Again this weekend I saw former colleagues like François (Trinh-Duc) and Louis (Picamoles), who would have dreamed of this outing, so measure up to the possibilities I have. Interestingly, I don’t live this week with more or less intensity than another. It’s a normal week. I still don’t think about the next one.

Can we draw a parallel with the final of the Top 14 2018 against Montpellier and that of 2022?

LJ: This has nothing to do. The context is really different. Both in 2018, we could say that Montpellier was a big favorite and that we were the outsiders, both this season, it is 50/50. Without wooden language, these are two very similar teams in their game, and even in their course. For us, this season is the continuation of the end of last season. In December 2020 we went down and had started a crazy comeback to finally fail at the gates of the final phase. We had 6 excellent months to save the club and achieve something beautiful, and we started this season keeping that momentum going. The same goes for Montpellier, who last year did a maintenance mission and finished 10th. They recreated a group and navigated this dynamic at the start of the season.

What memories do you have of the 2018 final?

LJ: It was amazing … Then everything went so fast that it’s hard to analyze every moment and every emotion we feel. It was extraordinary, because no one saw us win. For our part, we fully believed in it and when it happened, it was really crazy and magical!

We don’t play for ourselves, but to make people proud and make Castres known. This is the legacy of Pierre Fabre and what he wanted to convey through CO.

Loic JacquetSecond line of Castres

We have the impression that it was difficult for you to digest this 2018 title and fall back to earth …

LJ: It is true that we paid a little for it, because we did not qualify the next season (2018-2019) and the next, stopped by Covid, we were not necessarily much better placed in the classification. . Like last year, where we had 6 catastrophic first months, losing several times at home, and where we were penultimate for Christmas. It was tough, but then there were changes in staff and players. It is part of the cycles of a club. Today there is a different group. There are few players left who have experienced the 2018 epic, either with us (7 of whom 5 present on the scoreboard in the final) or at home (6 including 1 lined up in the final). On the pitch, not all players will relate to 2018, as the contexts are completely different.

Since your arrival at the CO, what has impressed you most about the club environment?

LJ: I arrived at the Tarn in 2016, so I had already been able to measure the public’s fervor before the 2018 title, especially the previous season when we made a ravine in Toulon, in front of many spectators who had made the long journey. al Var. They gave voice and we know what they are capable of when they play at home. I still think of the Toulon match last year, where we played our place in the final stage and where we had a crazy welcome from the bus. It was crazy. Surely all the Castres are happy and proud to go to Paris to play a final and represent the city. All stores are in Blue and White, with the colors of the CO. It’s beautiful, because we also play for it, to make people proud and give them some happiness. This is precisely the mission of the club here in Castres. It’s part of the players ’DNA and what it teaches us when we get to the club. We don’t play for ourselves, we play for something bigger and more important. This is the legacy of Pierre Fabre, this is what he wanted to convey through Castres Olympique. He wanted us to play to make Castres known and make people proud. Today, it is part of the club’s values, the players adhere to it and are trained to pass it on.

The second line, Loïc Jacquet, 37, is one of 10 players who will leave Castres Olympique at the end of the season.
The second line, Loïc Jacquet, admits to being dithyrambic with Tom Staniforth and Santiago Arata. (© Icon Sports)

Simplicity and sobriety seem to be the keywords before this finale …

LJ: I want to tell you that we can’t afford to get too excited. We don’t make people dream about our game, or our team. I saw in the media that the most glamorous final would have been Toulouse-Bordeaux … Sorry for the people who find that we are not glamorous. Then there are also a lot of people who are in the values ​​of the club and in what the team manages to convey on the pitch, with their means, and that makes us happy!

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In Castres and Montpellier, everyone will want to offer the best possible way out of these legends.

Loic JacquetSecond line of Castres

How would you describe Tom Staniforth as a man and as a second line?

LJ: Already as a player, he is a rock. He is awesome. If we look at their season, their playing time and their stats, it’s really a central piece of our group and our team. He brought us a lot of dynamism and energy, as well as his physique. He has improved a lot in his game since arriving at Castres. He’s great, he’s having fun and he’s happy to be here. He is happy at the club and in the city. It’s having fun and that’s noticeable on the playing field. When you are good on your head and skin, you can only go to the ground.

On Friday, on the opposite field, there will be two other future retirees Guirado and Ouedraogo, with whom you were under-21 world champions in 2006. Is this a page of French rugby that will turn?

LJ: This whole generation of 85-86, world under 21 champions in 2006, is coming to an end (laughs). I also think of Damien Chouly who just hung up his crampons with Perpignan. It’s a passing page, but that’s life. I talked before about the similarities between the clubs, but if we take this aspect, we can see that in the semifinals there was Guilhem (Guirado) who was in the group and an MHR legend, Fulgence (Ouedraogo) who was not there. And for our part, it was the same, as I was on the scoreboard, but Rory, the legend of our club, was not there. Believing that there really are similarities, even in particular cases like these. Everyone on both sides will be eager to give these legends the best possible way out.

A word about Santiago Arata. How do you do it with strikers?

LJ: He is a dog, but he is adorable and very nice. It’s the quintessential scrum medium, talking and shouting all the time. He doesn’t call to give orders, but because he likes to upset fat people. And even if we hit him, he still gets back in charge. It is a ringworm, but it is in life as earth, that is, simple and generous. We love it and are happy to have such a player with us. At the same time, Santi is in a good school, so be careful, if we give him a few more years … I hope for him that he manages to do the same as Rory and can be very happy with his career.

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