the essential New Zealand, often praised for its “technical qualities” and its “individualities”, is above all a “very well prepared” team which “leaves nothing to chance”, believes Christophe Urios, Bordeaux-Bègles coach in an interview before the duel between France and the All Blacks on Saturday. The technician evokes his “passion” for the New Zealand selection on the occasion of the release of his latest book, “A season in hell”, co-written with Frédéric Rey-Millet (Eyrolles editions), to be published on Thursday.
They fascinate me! When I was in Castres, there was Frank Bunce (from 1997 to 1998), a formidable New Zealand center. But he arrived injured and hardly played. I had sympathized with him and discovered a guy with significant experience and a fairly good knowledge of New Zealand rugby. He once said to me: “The difference between a French player and a New Zealander is that a Frenchman needs to have fun during the week in order to work on weekends. The New Zealander works for him. the week for fun on the weekends. ” He was right. From that moment on, I fell in love with these guys. I read a lot about what they were doing, I played with Gary Whetton (1992 – 1994 in Castres ) and I coached New Zealanders. They were always a little different. I like their way of approaching rugby. They are the best players in the world!
That is to say?
One might think that New Zealand rugby is above all a rugby of individualities, enthusiasm, technical qualities, even individual genetics. I’m just saying they’re very well prepared. They leave nothing to chance, starting with their state of mind and the haka, this way of thinking about ancestors. In the approach, it is fundamental. They have a very clear code of conduct: they can do without the best players if they do not fit into the framework defined together.
How do you see things for Saturday’s game?
I think the French did not have a good match against Georgia (Sunday) because they were already in the preparation for the match with the Blacks. It’s not easy to play a game like that. But I have rarely seen Blacks get shaken as much as this weekend in Ireland (defeat 20 – 20)! They were really under pressure. Do they have the physical and mental resources knowing that they have been running since the end of August? Are they worn out? Will the French be able to put them under pressure for 80 minutes? I do not know. But it will be interesting because it will be a big test against a competitor. I can’t wait to see it.
Your opener in Bordeaux-Bègles, Matthieu Jalibert, is now starting with the Blues. What is its main quality?
You don’t need me to know he’s talented. He is also a proud person, someone who sets the bar high but also knows how to get there. He is not satisfied to say that he plays with Bordeaux-Bègles and the France team. What he wants is to be the best player in the UBB, the best in the French team at his post.
Is it logical that he became the holder to the detriment of Romain Ntamack, repositioned in the center with the Blues?
I’m not saying one is better than the other. (The management) is trying to set up an association because these are two enormous talents. Matthieu was still the real replacement but today, by the way he is able to switch matches with us at UBB, the staff (of the Blues) understood that he was dealing with a guy a little outside the norm , as are also Ntamack and + Toto + (Antoine) Dupont. This new generation is fantastic.
What do you think of this association?
It really is a tactical choice. They seek to have two players capable of managing the game of the France team, to also have a high quality of passing on both sides, excellent kicking, fluidity. Conversely, what may be missing is the physical impact on the benefits. I have never used this kind of association. I don’t like it but that’s not why it won’t work.