A new story that continues. This Thursday, scrum half Rory Kockott announced at a press conference that he is extending his adventure with Stade Français Paris to the age of 37. Arriving in the off-season as a World Cup joker, the former emblematic number 9 of Castres Olympique played 6 matches in the Top 14, including 4 as a starter. His performances convinced the new manager of the Parisian club, Laurent Labit, who recruited him from Castres in 2010 and with whom he was French champion in 2013.
Kockott agreed to stay in Paris, this time as a medical joker. “The most interesting thing for me is what I learn every day. With the men, with Laurent (Labit), with Karim (Ghezal). When you learn, you have fun, move forward, philosopher, the former international scrum half (11 caps). It’s a great part of our career. I've learned more in three months here than in the last five years, that's important. The culture at Stade Français is great and historic. Laurent (Labit) is putting things in place, I feel that it will lead to an exciting future.
Laurent Labit says: “When Hugo (Zabalza) was injured at the start of the season, we could find ourselves in difficulty in that position. We made the choice to go get it. Because we needed a daily competitor like him. We decided to transform his World Cup joker contract into a medical joker. The idea was to make him continue a little because he is in good shape and performing well. We will see in February or March where we are… With him, but also with us in terms of results.”
Kockott's great experience and formidable competitive instinct will be valuable for Stade Français, leader of the championship after six days before facing rival Racing 92 on Saturday (3 p.m.) in the Paris region derby. “He’s a good guy, he’s a leader, he’s valuable in a group,” greets second row and Parisian captain Paul Gabrillagues. Furthermore, the extension of Rory Kockott's contract will give All Black Brad Weber, who arrived last week in Paris, time to acclimatize to his new club and his new life.
While he had ended his playing career and joined the Castres staff, Rory Kockott finally decided to put on his crampons again. Already, last year, he had done four “freelances” for the CO when he returned to competition. There, it's a new experience in Paris for someone who had never left Tarn for twelve years (280 matches played, 1,437 points scored). “At one point you think you’ve done and learned everything, but no! For me, the most challenge of my career - my second career, you could say - is that you learn a lot about yourself in a new environment. And to discover the pressure before the derby against Racing 92: “We need pressure! Without pressure, we will not produce our best performance. If the staff calls on me, I need to be at my best.”
Still with its volcanic character, bordering on character. Laurent Labit smiles: “The opponents and the referees were happy to see him again… It shook everyone a little, especially him.” And the main person added: “It’s part of the game. It’s rugby, it’s special. It’s 80 minutes between the four white lines (on the pitch). Afterwards, it's normal life. Men, meetings, cultures... What matters are the 80 minutes between the white lines. Anything can happen. I try to focus on my game and how to help my teammates. In every challenge, there is a job to do.”
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