Comments collected in Marcoussis
How are you experiencing your arrival in the French team? It's very exciting, there's a lot of motivation. We're not lost because we have a lot of teammates from our clubs. We are just very happy and impatient to start our different jobs in the field.
Is hazing planned? (Smile) We have not yet discussed with Estéban (Abadie) our strategy for the show...
You can play scrum or open. This versatility is an asset...There is also Thomas Ramos who can play 10. In the list, the staff has chosen to only take two number 9s and two number 10s. My versatility is obviously interesting. But I think the two number 9s (Lucu and Le Garrec) have been on fire since the start of the season. When we come to the French team, we are obviously happy but we remain competitors so we always want more. You have to give yourself the means to have what you want, this will come through very good training and also good performances in the club.
Did you talk about the elimination of the Blues in the quarter-finals of the World Cup? We didn't really talk about South Africa, we talked more about certain sectors through clips. But we did not focus on South Africa.
Grégory Alldritt, the captain of the Blues, declared that the new kids will bring freshness to this group...Each person must bring a part of themselves. This will be seen during high intensity workouts. There, we had two days of recovery, we didn't all play at the same time. Each one arrived a little chewed. From tomorrow (Wednesday), things will move more quickly. We will be able to bring our freshness and our... joy of living. (Smile)
You are associated with Racing 92 with Nolann Le Garrec. Did the staff emphasize this shared experience? I think that might have weighed in the balance. Before there was Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, then there was Maxime Lucu and Matthieu Jalibert. It is certain that the fact that we had a good start to the season with our club could have had a bearing. I remember more the fact that I love playing with Nolann, that we have a lot of automatisms, but with two or three training sessions, it will be the same with ’Max’ Lucu.
When do you think there was a turning point in your career? It's hard to say. But the fact of no longer having big competition in number 10 in Racing allowed me to free myself a little more, to have more responsibilities. I may have matured later, but now having responsibilities and playing in big matches has allowed me to grow. And to be able to reach the French team.
How did you welcome the fact that Owen Farrell is going to join Racing? (Smile) He can play 12! My competitors were Dan Carter, Pat Lambie, François Trinh-Duc, Rémi Talès... And I'm still here. I spoke about his arrival with the coach and the president. If we're honest, it was weird again to tell myself that I was going to be competing with a very big 10. You can also see the fact that he can play 12 and that I can be associated with him. In reality, I focus more on the present moment, for the moment it's the French team. The rest is in 6-7 months...
You mentioned it, you have worked alongside many great openers in Racing. Which one influenced you the most? It's hard to choose just one. I started in 9 with Dan Carter in 10, there are worse... I was very close to Finn Russell, I knew him during all his years at Racing. I try to inspire myself as much as possible from him, I loved his way of playing. Afterwards, I was also very close to François Trinh-Duc and Rémi Talès, who taught me about the mental approach to the match, the fact of not raising your arms all the time. More on the calm and serenity aspect so whereas Finn, it was more the game itself.