“A crazy story”, remembers Patrice Collazo

“It feels weird to talk about this. Things are brewing… “Rare in the media, Patrice Collazo is even more rare when the questions relate to La Rochelle, abruptly left in May 2018 against a backdrop of great tensions within the staff. However, when we proposed to him the idea of ​​looking back on the 2014 rise to the Top 14, the former head coach of the Jaune et Noir did not hesitate. This is because the adventure he experienced for seven seasons in Charente-Maritime is still an integral part of a man with a sensitivity as strong as his character.

“It’s a fusion story. I never talked about it too much… “He had never even rewatched the final won against Agen (22-31) until its rebroadcast during confinement. “It was the dynamic of a team, of a club, of a city. What I remember is an extraordinary story, with extraordinary guys, a fusion with the supporters, he repeats. This story, we take it at the start, I tell it to you, no one believes you… “

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” Extraordinary “

As soon as the match ends, however, the Varois is already looking at what awaits Stade Rochelais. Moreover, from the press point which follows the final, the questions relate to the aftermath, this Top 14 of all the dangers for a promoted person who only played there for one year, in 2010-2011: “We are so Little Thumb is coming up, there will be some lovely stories to tell about us, but I think we are at the start of something – that’s what I feel – extraordinary for the club. Because going up is one thing, settling down and competing is another. These are questions that we are already asking ourselves with Vincent (Merling, the president) and with the “DG” (Pierre Venayre, the general director). Because it is the first anxiety of a club. “

Stade Rochelais has on its side the fact of having experienced the disappointment of 2011, an express return to Pro D2. “Every story is different but what matters is the club. Jean-Pierre (Elissalde) and Serge (Milhas) played important matches with their convictions, their beliefs, in the service of the institution to write its history, to leave it a track record, insists Patrice Collazo. Aside from the president, who stayed longer than everyone (laughs), the players and coaches are passing through. We leave a legacy, a story that the person who follows must continue, while writing a short story. “

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On the road, the traffic jams are a clue, the Old Port is in a general state of madness. The soil is there. “Seeing the joy in people’s eyes is when I tell myself there is potential. I only think about the year after, he assures. With people who experience rugby like that, we have to be at the top and stay there. But, above all, we must be at the top and win. This is where you have to take people on an adventure, just as you take players on board. “

He is already no longer in the emotion and returns home very quickly, his mind set on this trip. “What will we have to do to keep this going? This is the question I ask myself. The day before the final, I had a real sleepless night, where I stayed a lot in my room, in the living room, without sleeping, reveals the Varois. But it was a sleepless night that I didn’t suffer, I really enjoyed it. “

Symbol of the steps taken by the club, for the return of the Top 14 to Deflandre, on August 31, 2014, La Rochelle beat Toulouse (37-25) on the day of the inauguration of the new Jackson stand.

Symbol of the steps taken by the club, for the return of the Top 14 to Deflandre, on August 31, 2014, La Rochelle beat Toulouse (37-25) on the day of the inauguration of the new Jackson stand.

South West Archives/Xavier Léoty

“Atypical guys”

“The Stade is a century-old club, I was tired of people raising their fingers to speak”

The project he has in mind requires ambition. The strength of Stade Rochelais is to go through the stages in stages “because there was a sporting strategy and a development strategy which had an impact on its progress. Everything went at the same speed. The planets were aligned, but we did everything to make them so. The leaders, the sportsman, the administrators, the supporters, everyone put their part into it,” continues the Toulonnais.

By changing your habits. “I am proud to have put it in the faces of the guys, of everyone, supporters, managers, players, that Stade Rochelais could play, exist, compete and win the Top 14,” insists the former pillar. I was tired of being considered the little one. The Stade is a century-old club, I was tired of people raising their fingers to speak, even if we shouldn’t speak out of turn. We had to be respected, not show allegiance to anyone, involve people in this crazy story, a little against the mentality of the Stadium which has values ​​made of determination, respect, which has the will not to cross the line. lines. “

Today manager of Toulon, Patrice Collazo keeps “relations with the players” in mind. It’s barge. Players were not destined for that, like Uini (Atonio), who was not predestined to play for Stade Rochelais. It’s also Franck Jacob, who finishes on a climb, “Djeb” (Nicolas Djebaïli), who has many links with the club. It’s full of things that are fabulous. “

“I was lucky to have this relationship with certain players. Once you have that, you can do anything, you can turn everything around and take them on board. Whatever happens, they follow us with their eyes closed. It’s a story with atypical guys who shared things, real frank relationships, based on loyalty,” he concludes, moved, about the rise to power of Stade Rochelais.

They went up with Stade Rochelais

FRONT ROW Stéphane Clément, Uini Atonio, Lekso Kaulashvili, Jason Marshall, Mike Corbel, Christophe Lafoy, Jordan Sénéca; Benjamin Gélédan, Hikaïro Forbes, Rassie Van Vuuren. SECOND ROW Cobus Grobler, Franck Jacob, Leandro Cedaro, Romain Sazy. THIRD LINE Loann Goujon, Kévin Gourdon, Zeno Kieft, Thomas Soucaze, Nicolas Djebaïli, Arnaud Dorier, Johan Wessels, Albain Méron. HINGE Julien Audy, Julien Berger, Jules Le Bail; Fabien Fortassin, Hamish Gard, Clément Marienval. CENTERS Lepani Botia, Jean-Philippe Grandclaude, Gonzalo Canale, Charles Lagarde, Albert Vulivuli, François Herry. WINGERS Damien Cler, Sireli Bobo, Maxime Le Bourhis, Pierre Santalier. BACKS Kini Murimurivalu, Arthur Cestaro. BUT ALSO… Bruno Sillé, Tony Giraud, Maxime Fray, Pietro Ceccarelli, Mickaël Chiker, Jérémie Abiven, Titouan Guilon, all present in Carcassonne.
COACHES Patrice Collazo and Fabrice Ribeyrolles. PHYSICAL TRAINERS Michele Colosio, Thibaud Huguenny, Patrice Zapata. MEDICAL CELL Lylian Barthuel, Thierry Lévêque, Franck Victor, Éric Bernuchon, Dominique Merlande. STEWARDS Gérard Billé, Xavier Lagouanelle, Daniel Girard. In bold, the players who played in the promotion final against Agen.



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