the essential This Monday 15 November, Emmanuel Macron visited the French men’s teams and feminine. The occasion for a meal, a meeting and a broken exchange ended with these words from the President of the Republic: “The win”. In the sights of the Bleu (e) s: the world title.
It’s a meeting you on familiar ground. That of the Presidents of the Republic who regularly come, according to the news, to meet French athletes who are preparing for their major international competitions. The waltz of photos and words of encouragement to embody the country’s support behind its sporting incarnations, alas without the view that our society has on sport ever being upset.
Emmanuel Macron is no exception to the rule. He is a regular here, having already pushed the doors of the area of the Blues, at the National Rugby Center in Marcoussis. It was in 2019, while Jacques Brunel’s team was preparing for the World Cup in Japan. His new visit to the players of the XV of France, a few days before the clashes against New Zealand (Saturday 20 November afternoon in Castres for girls; in the evening at the Stade de France for men), is necessarily part of a form of tradition.
What changes is the format. The President of the Republic did not just sit at the table, alongside Bernard Laporte, Serge Simon, Fabien Galthié, his staff and all the players. In the company of his wife Brigitte, he honored a promise made on 14 December 2020 day of World Cup draw 2023.
Before finding the Blues, he first met the women of Captain Gaëlle Hermet for a quarter of an hour in the heart of the residence of the XV of France. Relaxed moments. Smiles of the international proud of the honor thus bestowed upon them. Gaëlle Hermet and manager Annick Hayraud are working on appropriate speeches. Thanks and applause.
Behind, the president sets the ambition and the course to follow: 2022, year of the Blue World Cup in New Zealand (October 8 – 12 November). The invitation is finally out to attend a match on the Long White Cloud Island in New Zealand. “Okay, but that’s not up to me… (audience laughter, report to the presidential election). But, I promise, I’ll come see you during the next Tournament. It’s the right timing.
On this cold autumn day with a chalk sky without light, the CNR had frozen for a long time awaiting this visit. Bathed in silence outside, bubbling inside. Since the early hours of the morning, the premises had been stormed by the security services: no delivery accepted, and entries to the site which are trickle. It’s a funny ballet that has been formed at the option of arrivals at the guard post (verification of identities and health passes) and in the large hall of the building between cops, deminers (you must have lived the experience of find in the toilets, with the dogs who make the security visit), com ‘services, nurse in charge of PCR tests, Marcoussis employees, prefect, federal leaders and other players or coaches in tricolor tracksuits. Even for the Blues, it’s not always easy to find your way, and to keep your habits …
Especially when the President comes to sit at your table and He then spent a good hour with the partners of Antoine Dupont, whose birthday he celebrated on his arrival, for an inspiring conference so dear to Fabien Galthié (last year the sailors François Gabart and Thomas Coville, then the chef Guy Savoy and Max Guazzini had thus exchanged). The idea? Share a little experience, bear witness to a journey, the key factors of success, mistakes, successes and, this time, the fight that the political arena induces. “Yes, it’s a real fight” immediately poses the president sitting in front of the players, very attentive. At his side, Bernard Laporte, Serge Simon, Antoine Dupond, Fabien Galthié and Raphaël Ibanez, who presents the spirit of the meeting. On the walls, a challenge, a vision is displayed: “Champion objectives”. Next to it, the famous arrow of time which should guide the course of the Blues to 2023, with the matches and their results. More victories than defeats.
The “media” pool that surrounds presidential outings is disappearing. Laid-back, the president sets the framework for his journey to 2017. He insists on words. Consistency, first of all. “Because everything we do is built upstream, for me it was long before the presidential fight.” Breaking point, then. “If I had stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be here. You have to know how to take risks, to make things happen.” Further on, he shares about his commitment: “Never be hostage to established patterns, from the past. Never live in the eyes of others, I have never sought to know what people thought of me. but rather what I had to do (…) You can make mistakes, but never repeat the same mistakes. And then, you have to have the spirit available. To win a competition like 2023, you have to be nourished by experience but be available under the conditions that are in front of you. The context is always radically different. “
” The colors that are ours and the collective that you represent, it is also what should lead you to transcend yourself “
The president speaks, listens, juggles with Karim’s questions Ghezal, Serge Simon, Grégory Alldritt or Matthieu Jalibert, about his future and a possible second term. The message is built around the collective, planning around the objective to be reached and generosity. “This notion is essential: we owe it to those who come to see us and who give us time. It is an ethical, human and elegant question.”
In the room of life of the Blues, half an hour has passed in one gulp. Before posing for the official photo and Antoine Dupont offers the president the jerseys signed by the XV of France, Fabien Galthié ends the meeting with his words: “I do not know if we measure the gift you are giving us. Everyone will undoubtedly take a lot of this moment that you gave us, that’s how a team grows. The players were very attentive, very impressed. Since the beginning of the adventure, we have lived great moments in packed stadiums. There, in a more intimate sequence, we have just lived a very great moment. In the name of all, I thank you warmly. “
And the President concluded:” Build this obviousness is what will make sure that something will impose itself on you and on the others. Then, continue to grow individually; because there is no great team without great guys (…) I don’t think so. not that you can win any great competition if you lie to yourself or forget where we come, who we are and the values that forged us. Finally, never forget that you are wearing the colors of a very large country. This country which exceeds us, the colors which are ours and the collective which you represent, it is also what must lead you to transcend yourself. It is this part of the ideal which, at some point, must carry you. “