Top 14 – USAP: “Leave two behind!”

Patrick Arlettaz, USAP coach, who will take some height to give free rein to the Marty-Vilacéca duo, believes that the schedule has not been too hard with his team. Ambition? Twelfth place.

Patrick Arlettaz, what is your reaction after the announcement of the 2022-23 calendar by the NRL?

It’s pretty much identical to what we had last season. We start out, in Pau (September 3), before receiving Brive the following weekend. Both of our alleged opponents for maintenance. I say suppose, because, in any case, the Paloise Section shows 11 million euros in payroll (1). We are at 7.5 … Suffice it to say that the difference is huge. Also, I notice that all the Top 14 teams are at work in terms of massive salaries, except two: Brive and us!

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Hence the importance of not missing this championship start?

For sure ! It would be dangerous to start with two defeats. You stumble upon the Brivistes in Aimé-Giral and you find yourself in trouble. On paper, we can win, on the ground … We will have to get into the right dynamics very quickly, to try to capitalize then.

The goal of the USAP this season?

Leave behind two competitors! To do better than last season when we struggled all season to get thirteenth place. We want to avoid taking it for maintenance. And it will have to take shelter before the end of the championship that promises to be copious with two receptions of “greats”, Racing 92 and Toulouse, for two trips to LOU and then Castres! But hey, the timing isn’t easy for Bayonne and Brive either, who will fight us for maintenance. And then we are never safe from a good surprise. Who would have predicted that we would win the UBB at home when two games were left?

Is the hiring over?

We have to wait a bit. We have a small reserve fund that should allow us to deal with the unexpected: an injury, or a casting error …

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How will you work with David Marty?

“Zaza” will take over the executive. I will dedicate myself more to my role as manager, which I had already had for a year, but which I want to develop, to the detriment of the field. Now it’s up to “Zaza” to prepare his team, matches, etc. With his staff he has to launch the sports side of the USAP. Then we will have debates, exchanges. But I want to get rid of the executive. The group needed a new breath, a different discourse. And tell yourself that if I had wanted to keep my coaching hat, I wouldn’t have chosen to wear the coaching hat.

A long ten-week relentless tunnel awaits you, does this inspire some fears?

No. Last season we lived almost the same. And I think we’re a little more prepared to deal with that. I find our staff a little more balanced. To anticipate this “tunnel”, we will play our second friendly match against Racing 92 two weeks before the resumption of the championship. To let the band breathe a little. “

(1) The salary cap of the 14 best clubs, ie the maximum authorized ceiling of the payroll, is 11.3 million euros. It is expected to rise to 10 million in 2024, following an agreement between the NRL and the clubs, this decline is suggested by the recent Covid-19 pandemic, which has put several clubs in financial difficulties.

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Resumption on July 14 at the Sports Park

For USAP players, the meeting is set for Thursday, July 14, at 8:30 a.m. at the Parc des Sports. “There will be between 25 and 30 players present at the meeting, explains Patrick Arlettaz. We gave an extra week to the island players who had not returned home for 3-4 years due to Covid-19. Piula (Faasalele) has not returned to his family for three years, Shaun (Eru) four years ago. And Perry Freshwater has not seen his mother for 5 years! Everyone needed to relax. They will return on July 18. “

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