On Sunday in Aubagne, SCD qualified in the number of registered attempts after losing narrowly (19-17, against a success of 28-26 in the first match). A memorable weekend where the cohesion between players, managers and supporters was top notch. We experienced it from the inside. Story.
When the bus starts from Place de la Vitarelle in Decazeville, Saturday around 1.30pm, there is no indication yet that Sporting will engage in a tough battle and emerge as the big winner of this double showdown with Aubagne; opens the doors to a 16th final against Vincennes and, at the key to this new double duel, a (re) ascent in Federal 2. A very quiet journey where if the chamber is legion and the little sentences merge, this turn will rather all be marked by the breathless qualification on penalty kick to Toulouse against Munster in the Europa Cup. Already the players are in their fight, they dream of doing as the big stadium, of winning in enemy soil.
And 24 hours later, the party, the madness, the drunkenness … the victory on the way back, in Montpellier until dawn, in a brasserie where the players more than anything else wanted to thank the fans for making this long trip to support them. An honor guard of players clapping Decazevillois made up in blue and white, who should spend long hours exchanging, singing arm in arm with a Decazevillois XV, who in the still very present euphoria sees himself going as far as possible.
Party in Montpellier
We were then far from setting up that morning, on the Provence Rugby training ground, a stone’s throw from the hotel. It was former national team player Léon Loppy, ex-Toulonais and Castrais who had organized this for his friend Anthony Julian, whom he had known in Castres when the Decazevillois coach was playing in Espoirs. Seriously, we recite the tracks, the fronts alternating between combinations in touch and groupings, while the back lines add a final touch to the launch of the game. The head is already at the Christian-Martelli stadium in Aubagne. Silence is more present, as are Presidents Patrick Malpel and Christian Murat as the few guides hardly dare speak any more to Anthony Julian and Tim Bowker. Everyone is in the game, without planning for the kick-off.
And by the last trill, it took five seconds in an entire stadium to understand that for some, the adventure ended there, and for others, the great qualification could begin. In a blue and white dressing room, bodies drenched in so much generosity cheered, shouted, cried, even hoarse to the tunes of their famous “Canta lou papé.”
According to Aubagnais, they had not done what was necessary to win. The sporty “deserved his qualification “according to this player’s words from the local team, both disappointed and admiring to see so many opposing supporters at his stadium. It must be said that the players’ friendly match had taken matters into its own hands, in the middle of last week Quentin Fiches and consorts did not want to go into battle, alone, without the support of their “blue army.” Montpellier at night.Some will say that this gesture honors them.But they usually find it, they love their followers, this group of believers among the believers who will still have to travel to Vincennes on May 22nd.
It’s a bit like with us. There is the press in the bus, at the hotel we say to ourselves that the athletes will pay attention to their words, their attitudes. But in the end, it’s bad to know this group of friends. Very quickly calmed down and a song by Demis Roussos later, the press fills the mustaches, but always in goodwill, happy as children to share an extraordinary adventure. This amateur rugby is only a source of transmission, friendships and generosity, that’s what Tim Bowker and Anthony Julian emphasized during the pre – match chat. And without betraying this intimate moment where those who are not going to play like Jonathan Monbroussous and Cédric Delclaux have to give the jerseys to their teammates, certain phrases still resonate in people’s heads, “Together we risk nothing. It’s a privilege to wear this shirt …“
And it’s departure to Aubagne. In the bus, calm reigns. On the motorway you can see the Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Tim Bowker turns around and says, “it’s a sign. “Anthony Julian is smiling. He already knows what’s going to happen.