An almost complete recovery and with “a lot of freshness”

An almost complete recovery and with “a lot of freshness”
An almost complete recovery and with “a lot of freshness”

LThe time has come for the rugby players from Mons to get back to training, as they returned to the Boniface synthetic pitch on Monday 1 July. A return to training deemed conclusive by Laurent Arbo, the physical trainer, and Patrick Milhet, the former historic prep player who became manager in 2020. “Physically, I found that the group was very fresh,” said the latter, who was exceptionally able to enjoy a few days off in June: “It’s been a long time since we had such a long holiday!” Because it came prematurely for the Mons players who were eliminated from the race for qualification on 17 May, at the end of the 30th and final day of Pro D2.

The page of last season and its sabotaged conclusion has been turned. Heading for the next one, with a rejuvenated and less reshuffled squad than in previous transfer windows: six arrivals (seven including the definitive one of Gatien Massé) for 13 departures, to which must be added the rise of a certain number of Espoirs – “premium” or “shuttle” – with the professional squad (see box).

The 2024-2025 workforce

Left pillars: Goginava (recruit), Innocent, Bultel.
Hookers : Dufour, Lagrange, Begic (recruit), Cherifi (shuttle).
Right pillars: Alvès, Gajion (non-Jiff), Lalanne, Bats (premium), G. Sefa (shuttle).
2nd line : Durand, Garrault, Fortuin (non-Jiff), Edwards, Dussutour (premium).
3rd line wing: Lafforgue (ex-Lisena), Brethous, Bertheau (recrue), Ponpon (recrue), R. Darquier (premium), Cassio (navette).
3rd line center: Faleafa (non-Jiff), Iashagashvili (recruit), Robic.
Scrum-halves: Loustalot, Canut, N. Darquier (premium).
Fly-halves : Du Plessis (non-Jiff), Pialot (premium).
Centres : Even, Fernandez, Massé (rookie), Wakaya (non-Jiff), Grulovic (premium).
Wingers : Bento, Sayerse, Sau (non-Jiff), Lagivala (premium, non-Jiff), Ratu (premium, non-Jiff), Duthoit (premium), Linguet (shuttles).
Backs : Laousse-Azpiazu, Cortes (premium), De Nardi (rookie, on loan).

De Nardi wants to “bounce back”

Of the six “real” recruits, only three were present this Monday morning: the third row Ioane Iashagashvili – “one of the best 8 in Pro D2” according to his manager -, Waël Ponpon – “who fixed everyone on the physical tests” – and Ewan Bertheau, who came from Perpignan. Missing from the roll call were Luka Goginava, called up to the Georgian national team after his great season with Grenoble, Luka Begic, retained with Portugal along with Simao Bento, as well as the returning Alexandre De Nardi, on loan from Montpellier, who will return on July 15. And who should, this season, bring real added value to the back lines.

“I’m annoyed, I would have liked him to play in the Top 14,” confided Patrick Milhet. Circumstances meant that he didn’t have the confidence he wanted in Montpellier. He’s going to come and bounce back here. He’ll want to prove himself, but he has nothing more to prove in Mont-de-Marsan. The goal, firstly, is for him to enjoy training and playing rugby again.”

“Toulouse will be a very interesting match. We will have to be able to be present defensively, but also to offer play”

Yoann Laousse-Azpiazu (cruciate ligaments, return in August) and Baptiste Canut (foot injury, expected at the end of July) are the two other players who will miss the first weeks of preparation, which will logically be “very focused on intensity”, confirms Patrick Milhet – Christophe Loustalot, who missed the end of last season, has returned “at 100%”: “The common thread will be physical preparation for three intense weeks. We will still play the ball, but in the form of organization. To get to grips with the game system, especially for the new recruits, but also for what we will change for the coming season.”


Romain Mareuil moved up a gear following Julien Tastet’s departure to Stade Français and became forwards coach.

Philippe Salvat/SO

Colomiers then Toulouse

The Montois will then go on a training camp in Loudenvielle (Hautes-Pyrénées), from July 29 to August 4. Two preparation matches will follow in the Landes: the first in Hagetmau against Colomiers on August 16, the second in Boniface on the 22nd to welcome the reigning European and French champion, the Toulouse ogre. “The important match will be the one against Colomiers, it’s a real Pro D2 match against a team that resembles us. After that, we’ll follow up with Toulouse. It will be a very interesting match. We’ll have to be able to be present defensively, but also to offer some play, because we’ll be tackling the championship eight days later.”

Note that Stade Montois will announce its future “skills” (individual skills) speaker – who will work with Romain Mareuil, promoted to pack coach, on the forward game – “at the beginning or end of next week”, according to Patrick Milhet. He will not say more: “I will not say more, I am following the instructions of my president!”

Ticket office for Toulouse open

Stade Montois will host Stade Toulousain at the Boniface stadium on Thursday, August 22 at 7 p.m. “Surely the only summer meeting for the Toulousains after a busy season,” the club explains in a press release, which has put tickets on sale (free seating) at a price of €15 (€10 for under-16s and free for under-5s, tickets on sale in the shop or on the online ticket office). “The opportunity for the Landes to welcome the Toulousains as well as the former Montois Léo Banos,” continues Stade Montois. “With surely the presentation of a cup and a shield.”

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