Nicolas Crubilé knows what he wants. Still. It is he who will take the reins of the Valencian Future first team next season. With a very clear project that he reveals to us exclusively.
Can you tell us about your arrival at Avenir valencien?
A few weeks ago I had a first contact with Jean-Christophe de Haro (co-president); his manager had just told him he wanted to leave the club. He introduced me to his vision of the position, of the club … My first idea was to stop for a year to rest, reflect on the game, travel to visit the staff all over France. I also asked him for a delay because I was in the running for qualification with my club. From the moment I announced to my presidents that I would not be returning to Beaumont, things accelerated with Valence-d’Agen but also with other clubs. When I study a project, I focus on three pillars: structures, people and means. I visited the facilities, we discussed the various works needed to make the facilities accessible and functional. I then met several staff members with whom I discussed their missions, my vision of this sport. We definitely agreed with Jean-Christophe and Geneviève Becker (co-chair) a few days ago.
Your first action?
First I made a diagnosis of the situation. Then we finalized the staff. Right now we are meeting with the players to clearly identify the guys who want to continue with us, the ones who want to leave the club. Work, humility, total commitment will be the cornerstones of the project, it was important to be able to introduce yourself and talk about these topics. Individual interviews are also interesting times to hear the players’ feelings about the club’s current situation but also to identify their deep ambitions.
“If they called me it was because I must have two or three ideas about rugby”
A quick word on the future staff, in fact?
First of all, the diagnostic phase showed me (once again) that the level of results is not necessarily related to the amount of work we put in place, because the work was done by previous staff. . I want to be clear on this, Nasser Ben-Amor and Nicolas Vial-Paillet are competent people who have all my respect. In spite of everything, if they called me it is because I have to have two or three ideas about rugby… And the first is that the priority in setting up a staff must be complementarity and efficiency. I signed up for two seasons. We are today, and still for a few months, in a first phase of construction that requires a small staff to be able to move quickly in the decisions and in the realization of the project.
Who will be in charge?
As for the sporting prerogatives, I will be the coach of the attackers and the offensive phases; Jérôme Pradelle will train the three quarters and the defensive phases. I absolutely wanted a professional by my side (in daily contact with the workforce), in charge of the throw-in because this very technical phase has become essential in modern rugby: Duncan Naude will be the first player and assistant coach in that sector. Bastien Safforés will remain our physical coach. Cyril Laverre, who was with me in Beaumont, joins us as a video analyst. I have an appointment with Arnaud Paillex and David Verdon to finish organizing our operation because the hopeful group will play an important role in the overall project of the club. As for all the related skills that are essential when looking for performance, I look forward to meeting everyone before expressing myself.
“I consider myself first of all as a coach who needs to be on the pitch with his players to think about the match”
Will you also have a managerial role?
I will be a manager-coach, meaning that my first short-term mission, which will occupy my days and certainly some of my nights, will be to make Valencia-d’Agen team 1 play fair, progress and win matches. I consider myself first of all as a coach who needs to be on the pitch with his players to think about the game, to influence the game and grow the team. Despite everything, Duncan’s presence in a sector as long as the side band will free up time for the managerial dimension of my position. The presidents have also entrusted me with a second, more transversal mission within the club, which will be to transmit our culture of work and play, a work that began several seasons ago with the creation of the CEL (elite center labeled ) and I will stick through Jeff Cazala and Kevin Lecareux to maintain a permanent bridge with the training of hopes up to the first steps. I repeat in passing, the training and the hope that the team will have an important place in the project to allow young players to increase their skills and maturity to integrate the club’s succession plan.
What game do you want to set up?
I’m not going to reinvent myself or change to please anyone. I arrive with a lot of humility but when you take me, you bring me with my vision of this sport. Rugby for me is a struggle before being a game; if you don’t fight, you can’t play. To prepare physically, mentally, technically for this fight, there is only one way, that of work. If you want to have fun on a rugby pitch, you must first work hard all week, to prepare your body and mind for what you want to impose on your vis-à-vis Sunday at 3:30 pm Then what I consider to be the roots of this game: to be precise and dominant in conquest; have a high and aggressive defense; to impose our pressure game; be reactive on the transition phases; be disciplined not to give points easily; and have a great mindset, “no excuses, never give up!” When we have these bases we can set up our attacking game based on the qualities of the boys who make up our squad, the reality of the level we play at and the club’s DNA.
What is your view of Federal 1?
Federal 1 standards aren’t exactly the same as Top14 standards, for example. Sometimes people tell me about the good game, for me the good game is not a registered trademark but rather a question of balance. Playing well is playing fair, being able individually and collectively to react to a momentary situation. In short, doing simple things well in the key moments of the game.
“For me, rugby is a struggle before it is a game. To play well is to play correctly”
How will the recruitment go?
I know that here there is a form of obligation of result, it is also this ambition that I liked and that made me want to get involved so I would not want to go into too much detail and that in six months a sentence comes out that says me: “You said it and you didn’t”. On hiring we identified with the positions of the staff and above all with the profiles of the players. We are working on it daily, but for the moment I prefer to remain discreet. Our workforce will be built around three profiles: players from the club’s lineup who wish to enter our work culture to exist at this level. They can come from our rugby school or join the club in hopes of continuing their training for 1, 2, 3, 5 years, taking advantage of our training facilities and methodology. Clearly, a place must be reserved for these guys who will come from our territory. In the medium term, these players must represent an important part of our major squad. There are also the prospects, these are the players we have to take: confirmed players, rather vindictive, who have already played at a higher level and who are trying to relaunch their career. These are profiles that will lead us to a certain level of play and requirements. Then there are the young people in post-training. These are guys who have tasted pro rugby, who have touched it with their fingertips, without settling there or without getting a pro contract. They can be with us before they recover or be part of a form of continuity like we do with some guys in our workforce. Players of our resource who trained at the club or who have joined it but who today are guides for their members because they know the local context, the needs and the work necessary to fight at this level.
How did you feel when you took office?
What I can say is that our basic idea will really be to continue to anchor this great club, born in 1903, to the territory. An agricultural territory that has grown through work but also through a certain ability to innovate in order to grow. The players, the staff, we must be in this image to be good ambassadors respecting the heritage of past generations. And what I can guarantee is humility and hard work.
Comments collected by our correspondent Michel Bony.