National – “I don’t think there has been a derby with as much enthusiasm”: Julien Seron and Jean-Marc Aué launch the Classic’Aude between Narbonne and Carcassonne

National – “I don’t think there has been a derby with as much enthusiasm”: Julien Seron and Jean-Marc Aué launch the Classic’Aude between Narbonne and Carcassonne
National – “I don’t think there has been a derby with as much enthusiasm”: Julien Seron and Jean-Marc Aué launch the Classic’Aude between Narbonne and Carcassonne

A few days before the Aude derby between Narbonne and Carcassonne (Saturday 7 p.m.), the two managers, Julien Seron (RCN) and Jean-Marc Aué (USC), took part in the cross-interview game. The pre-match tension, the opposing forces and of course the favorite of the match, the two bosses give their opinions.

To get straight to the heart of the matter, who is the favorite of this meeting?

Julien Seron : It’s a semi-final so I think there is no favorite. Firstly, I do not pretend to say that Narbonne is the favorite and given the confrontations between us this season, that leads me to say that it is 50/50. The mental dimension is highly more important than strategy and I don’t know how leaders will act and react. Take the example of Suresnes, there is one in a thousand who saw them winning in Albi. But mentally, they were more wired.

Jean-Marc Aué : I think that in a playoff match, anything is possible for both teams. Now about the numbers and the home advantage, for me Narbonne is the favorite. With a big audience behind the Narbonnais and their last victory in the championship at Suresnes with the offensive bonus, all this is not neutral.

Do you feel more usual tension in your ranks?

JM.A : It’s an elimination match, whoever loses will be on vacation. Personally, I have a mixed group between experienced guys and young players, some of whom have not experienced this kind of tense, cleaver match. There is a rugby match on Saturday but there is mental and environmental pressure to cope with beforehand. The last match in Narbonne, I remember that we had a lot of pressure. I know the players are looking forward to it, the truth is on the pitch.

J.S. : I feel my boys involved. There is excitement, there will be a lot of people and those who have the chance to participate in this half know that these are special moments. That whatever division you play in, you don’t experience ten in your life, unless you play at Stade Toulouse. There is adrenaline but it should not tense us up. We prepare for it but it remains a rugby match: when the whistle blows, you hide what is happening in the stands, the preparation, you only think about your match.

Is this one of the most important derbies in recent years?

J.S. : I think yes. It’s been around ten years now that the two teams have been competing against each other almost all the time in the same division and I don’t think there has been a derby with as much excitement, stakes and fervor. It’s great for the territory, for the Aude country. The context is super exciting.

JM.A : There are two towns in the same department that want to look higher. There is this supremacy that everyone wants to achieve, this desire to win. There will be no second chances. Today is the culmination of a whole season. It’s a lot of work, sweat, passion, and in all degrees. When you win, you are the greatest and when you lose, they want to cut your head off.

Did the episode of the match to be replayed change anything in the approach to this match and in your personal relationships?

J.S. : No, that didn’t count. When the decision was made, I never thought about it because it’s not in my character. Everyone uses it as they want, but I didn’t try to cheer the guys up because that’s what happened. In our relationship with Jean-Marc, I clearly have no problem, even if we don’t know each other intimately. Every time we were able to see each other, it was cordial and friendly. I don’t have the same opinion with his partner but that’s ego and what I feel. But I don’t want to create controversy. There were facts, decisions made, people who decided the fate of these issues. We achieved our objective of being in the semi-finals just like Carcassonne and that is the most important thing.

JM.A : There was this episode but both teams won at home. In the end, there was no impact on the rankings, it was more impacted by Blagnac’s withdrawal. In any case, I don’t use that to motivate my guys, otherwise it would be very small to stop at that. The relationship we have with Julien is classy. There is respect for each other, for our roles in our respective clubs. We have to take a step back from all that because when the match starts we are powerless. We all want to win, we are behind our colors and our clubs but it stops there. I respect Julien’s work and I think he respects mine. I know that he, like me, doesn’t want to lose (laughs).

What do you admire most about the opposing team?

JM.A : Specialists often point out: Narbonne surely has the best three-quarter line on the Nationale. They hurt us every time we played them. It’s a certainty. It’s a complete, consistent team. It is also against them that we lost the only one of our last 7 matches.

J.S. : Where I am personally amazed, and even more so because I know the Carcassonne club by heart, is that it is not easy to work there. Doing the season that “Carca” did after a year of descent while knowing the environmental context of USC demonstrates the work done by Jean-Marc. Being able to stay focused on your objectives with your team and arrive at the half in a season where you have to mourn your decline, where you lose players, where you have to rebuild urgently with impacted financial resources. This is clearly commendable. First of all, I didn’t expect him to have a season like this. It illustrates the qualities he has.

Which player is the most dangerous, the one you distrust the most on the opposite team?

J.S. : I know several of them across the street, but Romain Manchia, André Ursache, Raphaël Carbou. I really like Gaëtan Pichon too. I’m not saying I would trade them for my players but they are good players.

JM.A : I like his three-quarter center with a helmet (laughs) (Peter Betham, editor’s note)

Is this kind of match, a derby, a good showcase for the National?

JM.A : Yes, it’s a superb showcase. I’m just complaining that there’s no video, that there are lots of things we’re still missing. Making a semi-final against Narbonne, in a derby like this, of course it offers a good image for the championship. All this closeness craze is great because everyone hooks up and on Saturday night everyone will party together. It gives a lot of emotion at the end of the match when you see all the people happy. I’m not sure many people experience as much emotion as we do. I hope the best guy wins and whatever happens, life won’t end on Saturday night.

J.S. : I agree with Jean-Marc, this kind of moment helps bring people together. We are privileged because we will experience moments with a lot of adrenaline from the inside. It’s a beautiful showcase, a beautiful image of the Nationale. We all hope not to be there next year but this match will be fun. I’m happy to be here, happy to play against Carcassonne. It’s going to be a great day with 8 to 10,000 people, it’s fabulous.

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