It is back to work for the Ciel et Blanc players who, since last Wednesday have already made a start on their physical conditioning for the season to come. Laurent Travers, forwards coach of Racing Metro 92 gives us an insight to the priorities of the off-season. (Crédit photo : Julien Poupart // Attitude Rugby)
Laurent, since last Wednesday at Racing HQ, certain players are already back at work. What exactly are they doing currently?
At the moment, it is all about their physical fitness. For the time being, it only concerns our “old” players, those who were already with us last season. The new recruits will only arrive on July 1st, and our international test players won’t be back until July 23rd. The current group needs above all to work on their basic fitness. For three weeks they had a complete break away from the sporting environment, to rest their bodies and to allow their muscles to recover. They all had individual fitness programmes for a week, but now everybody is back together, working through stages with a programme which will gradually build up over the three weeks of fitness training.
On the threshold of a new season, how do you judge last season’s performance?
We went through a difficult start to the season, and it took a while for things to come together. We thought it would happen quicker, and at the beginning it was not easy. But thanks to the efforts from everybody in the club – coaching and medical staff, officials, and above all players who kept their patience – we rode it out, we hung in there to qualify for the play-offs, and then got as far as the semi-finals. Overall, it was very positive, and certain victories, such as the ones against Grenoble against Grenoble, or Stade Français at Jean-Bouin, were key moments of the championship. Not to mention our quarter-final play-off away from home against Stade Toulousain, who had never lost a knock-out game on their home ground. These results showed that as well as being able to play quality rugby, this group has huge character.
In other words, a very positive season which will enable you to build for the season to come…
Every season is completely different! Obviously we have to keep going forward, carrying on our merry way. But most important, we mustn’t rely on what we did last season. If we think that it is going to be easy, if we start saying: “that’s it, we just have to carry on like last season”, we could be in for a bad surprise. Every team has brought in great reinforcements, everyone is prepared to front up, and the most important thing for us it to get off a to a better start than last season.
What are your hopes and expectations for the coming season?
It’s not on our agenda right now. For the time being we are not talking about what happens next, our goals, or anything like that. What interests us is to make sure we work hard on our physical fitness, then work just as hard on our rugby content, so that we can get straight to the heart of the matter. Our first goal is to start the championship with much more stability than last year.
So what is the message that you are currently trying to get through to the players ?
Work! Work! Work! And afterwards, enjoyment. The most important is first of all to work hard so they can then play rugby. Because you cannot pay rugby, and you cannot get any enjoyment if physically you are not properly fit.
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Saturday 26th August