Rugby XV – Top 14: “We build, build and improve every sector of the game,” says Franck Azéma, USAP manager

After the good performance of the Catalans, especially in the second half in Toulouse last weekend (43-34 defeat), manager Franck Azéma prefers to continue looking for perfection in the USAP match before hosting Montpellier (Saturday 5 p.m.), rather than descending into the arbitration debates that revolved around this final confrontation.

You watched the match against Toulouse again on video. Has your analysis changed?

No, I feel the same way. We must take advantage of opportunities when they arise. Not to mention we were able to win the game on the 76e, we were in a position to get a point by scoring a try. But we couldn’t do it. We must therefore learn from these moments and know how to manage them better.

You also ran into problems in the rucks, especially in the first half, and Montpellier, who comes to Aimé-Giral on Saturday, is used to fighting big battles in this sector. Have you supported work in this sector this week?

This is the case every week. It’s constant. You must master this aspect if you want to guarantee the continuity of your game, whether it concerns your camping outings or to increase the speed of your game, so we are of course vigilant about this. We try to focus on it every week and master this sector of the game with intensity. Last weekend we were severely punished in the “tackle-tackle” zone and we actually bounced back from that. Firstly, by having a good knowledge of the rule, but also by being able to read well: “I can go there or I can’t go there”, without exposing oneself.

As for the indiscipline, don’t you have the impression that you are being whistled as a small team?

Don’t know. I think the mistakes from last week’s match are there. We had quite a few exchanges with the referee (Jérémy Rozier, Editor’s Note) after the match, and we had the feeling that the same fouls were not scored on Toulouse’s side in the second half. There are things he agreed with us on, others less so. But in a season it will even out. It’s up to us to be demanding again this weekend and things will change. We would be whistled as a small team if we acted like a small team. But I don’t think we behave like that now. We build, build and improve every part of the game. It’s up to us to demonstrate it every weekend, and that’s how we will be respected.

Alivereti Duguivalu will be summoned to the disciplinary committee this Wednesday by Antoine Dupont for his actions. Do you find this difficult?

I think if we quote it there, other gestures could be quoted, like the one on Tuilagi for example. Anyway, does this mean Duguivalu will be sanctioned? It is not certain. He hasn’t quite mastered his action yet: he attacks the chest at the beginning and ends up on the throat… There is no extreme violence or even any injury there. We’ll see on Wednesday.

With regard to the upcoming match, next Saturday against Montpellier, is there room for an “encouraging defeat”?

We have to win games. But what’s important is what makes us win. That’s what we’re mainly concerned with all week: how we can improve every point, how we master them, how we can be sure… To be able to deliver them as best as possible during the weekend. And I notice that there is dedication and commitment from the entire group to work in that way.

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