Dave Ryan, the symbolism of the club’s love

With its 36 years and 156 matches with SUA, the right pillar played its last match on Friday night. With undisguised feelings, the silent Irishman reveals his love for the club.

Is it appropriate for the columns, or British slime, Irish in this case? Still, Dave Ryan in public is not the most expressive of rugby players. “Usually I’m an introvert.” But as his last fight approached, he broke his skull. The feeling was too strong.

Seeing the warrior very moved as he left the pitch, in the 53rd minute of the match against Nevers, to thunderous applause from the grateful Armandie Stadium, is not trivial. “This end of the fight I will remember it all my life. I have no words to describe the emotions that live in me. Just thank you all.”

Landed seven years ago in the prefecture of Lot-et-Garonne, and he fell in love with his wife in a town, a club and its followers. “I only thought I would spend two years there. But after a few months, I would not travel.” Together with Tom Murday and Johan Sadie, who arrived the same year and became close friends, he discovered Agen, a small town passionate about rugby. “This connection between the city and the club reminds me of Munster, but on a smaller scale. I love the proximity to the public where I talk about rugby in the supermarket with older or younger people.”

The fans age in his heart

With SUA supporters, Dave Ryan has forged a genuine, strong bond. “When you give everything on the pitch, they are grateful. I remember my first match with Agen, it was against Toulouse. We had lost, but we had given everything. In the streets, everyone was proud of us.” It is true that the right pillar during his six seasons at the club has rarely disappointed them. A conscientious objector par excellence who has become part of the team, he was a great architect of the four years in the Top 14.

Overall, “and above all the focus on the fight”, Ryan did not expand his moods before the meeting and this maintenance must be sought. If not his desire to “sense, once again, that Armandie Stadium is pushing the back of the team”.

Friday night, in the locker room, to his last pre-match, “I broke, he’s breathing. I said to the boys, ‘when you put on this jersey, it must mean something to you.’ “the one before and another will carry it after. We’re just passing through a club. It’s up to you to leave it in the best possible place.” A speech he hopes to repeat next year, “to young people and players to come”.

The story of a man

For today, Dave Ryan does not see himself anywhere but in Agen. “I arrived with my wife seven years ago. Since then, my three children have been born here. We feel completely happy.” A city, a territory and a club marked with indelible ink in the heart of the Irishman. More since the birth of his daughter. “There were complications. And the club helped me a lot back then. It’s something I’ve never forgotten,” he says, before bursting into tears.

The skull breaks. A lot of mixed feelings erupt in the light of day with, in the background, a crying love for SUA. Asked by other clubs, he has always favored the very special relationship he has built here. Dave Ryan shows that even today, rugby, even when it has become ultra-professional, magnifies, above all, men’s stories.

The future coach of the SUA strikers?

“I can not say anything yet.” For several seasons now, Dave Ryan has expressed his desire to train, and if possible at SUA. Today, it is very likely that he will join Bernard Goutta’s staff next season. With what status? Attacker or scrum coach. Club announcements should soon clarify this situation.

Big smile on his lips, he who admires the work and method of Bernard Goutta “hopes to be on earth next season with the crampons. But less long this time (laughs).” He is also in no doubt about the club’s success in a rugby that is more competitive every year. “I think the top 6 in Pro D2 is the foundation of SU Agen. We do not have great resources, but with the public, the city and the training, we can compete.” A coach’s speech, right?

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