The former coach of the XV of France and ex-president of the French Federation Bernard Laporte wants to “change everything” in Montpellier, current red lantern of the Top 14 of which he is the new director of rugby, he assured Sunday at the bi -specialized weekly Midi Olympique. The MHR, which fell to Perpignan (23-16) on Saturday, formalized Sunday morning the arrival of Laporte in the management with, in his suitcases, Patrice Collazo, “new general manager to replace Richard Cockerill”, specified the former coach of the Blues.
At the head of the FFR until January 2023, Bernard Laporte was forced to leave his chair during his second term, pushed to resign after his two-year suspended prison sentence and 75,000 fine on December 13 2022 by the Paris criminal court, for having entered into a “corruption pact” with the owner of MHR Mohed Altrad, a pact linked in particular to the sponsorship of the XV of France jersey. A decision he appealed. “With Mohed, we decided to change everything. My mission will be to support him, to support the players but, initially, to form a new staff,” said Laporte.
Collazo, just arrived from Brive, will arrive with Vincent Etcheto, who will take care of three-quarters. Two characters with strong character... “And that’s so much the better! I like people with strong characters. To be a good technician, you need character and convictions about the game. They are also overflowing with energy and it is necessary to relaunch the club in this merciless race that is the Top 14,” he says. Furthermore, the duo composed of Christian Labit and Antoine Battut will be in charge of the forwards. Richard Cockerill and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde are leaving, but “Jeremy Valls will continue to take care of the kicking game and Benson Stanley of the defense”.
“I won't be on the field, I'm not the one who will coach. I am no longer old enough for that, especially since it has been more than eight years since I did it,” added the former Secretary of State for Sports, who will nevertheless be in Montpellier on a daily basis. “I couldn’t see myself committing half-heartedly. I will be there every day,” he assured. What goal? “Give me time to arrive. We must find a conquering state of mind, enthusiasm, the taste of victory. Don’t worry, the MHR will move up in the rankings,” he summarized, adding that the Hérault club “does not have the squad to be last in the Top 14”.