the former Berjallien Gilles Cassagne died suddenly


Julien Bonnaire (ex-3e line of the CSBJ and the French team): “This is very sad news. I think especially of his wife and his two daughters. Gilles is someone I appreciated, a bon vivant, he will leave a big void. Life is brutal. He is someone who worked a lot for rugby in our region and who was appreciated by everyone, we wrote to each other regularly, he spoke to me about the results of the Saint-Savin club… I remember him as a player, he was part from this great team that I visited as a child in the Pierre-Rajon stadium. He was a very strong center and then a very strong fly-half, very solid in defence, one of the first to play in these positions with such stature at the time. »

Stéphane Glas (former CSBJ center): “I am knocked out, shocked by the news (of Gilles Cassagne’s death). Of course, Gilbert Brunat left us a few years ago (November 16, 2019), but from the great era of the CSBJ, from the three finals of 97, he is the first to leave. Gilles is someone I followed as a child, from the stands at Rajon, who inspired me because we played in the same position (three-quarter center). And after that I was happy and proud to play with him, we became friends. Today I am in shock. »

Dominique Mazille (former scrum half FCG and CSBJ): “If the phone rings around midnight, it is never good news. And it was Stéphane (Glas) who announced Gilles’ death to me. It’s even more of a shock because he was in top form. Gilles, we were opponents before we were partners, and the FCG – CSBJ, I kid you not… When I signed with Bourgoin in 93, with Gilbert (Brunat), I wasn’t sure how things were going to go. But the club welcomed us very well, and Gilles first of all because he is a nice person. It worked between us straight away and I got the chance to play with him for five years. I say lucky, because on the field he was a smart boy, and it was not without reason that he was nicknamed ‘fox’. He had a significantly above-average rugby IQ. And outside he was always brimming with optimism. Something crucial for the team, especially when you are in a position of responsibility, as when he replaced Patrice Favre at the opening for the good of the club. I rarely saw him get angry when he spoke, everyone listened to him… And then Gilles was rugby, that of another era when the 3e The halftime was just as important as the first two! It was a celebration, everything that makes the oval an institution. And he continued to serve rugby as director of the ARA League. Four years after Gilbert (Brunat)’s departure, I unfortunately realize today that we don’t see each other enough. We must benefit from each other…’

Alain Lorieux (former FCG opponent): “We were initially adversaries and Cassagne was a ‘bloc’, the incarnation of power. It was the prototype of the technical-physical center as they called it at the time. A beef that gave the impression that nothing could happen to him. In fact, he played like a striker, he hurt on impact and I know what I’m talking about. We met during selection and I discovered someone who was affable and deeply kind. One of those boys from Nord-Isère, from the large Berjallie family: solid, tough and loyal. A person I have always had the pleasure of meeting. »

Yves Théron (former 2e CSBJ line): “It’s terrible, brutal, incredibly violent. We met again 15 days ago. I still have trouble realizing it. Gilles was our Saint Bernard for my entire generation. On and off the field. On the pasture he was a rock, never injured. He was the one who spread the game and found a solution when we were lost… In the dressing room, where we asked ourselves many questions in our time, he was a unifier, the person who reassured us. He told us: “It’s just a rugby match and as long as we’re all together, nothing can happen to us!” » And then, when there was something to organize, he took care of everything, he tackled it head-on, without ever asking anyone anything. He was someone of exceptional generosity, who never complained. He was our guide. »

Thierry Tonnelier (AuRA Rugby League, chairman) : “We are not losing a CEO, but a friend. He was a crazy rugby lover and a beautiful person. All league staff are devastated, the news spread very quickly. We had been working with Gilles for several years. He was our general manager for six years. Together with Nathalie Janvier he set up the AuRA Tour project. And then we spent two and a half years working on the Rugby World Cup project in the region. He often accompanied me to club meetings on Sundays. He didn’t count his time. He did everything he could to develop rugby everywhere. Every rugby fan in the area knew Giles. »

Philippe Niogret (AuRA Rugby League, member of the steering committee) : “It’s a surprise for everyone. I met him at a recent FCG match against Montauban at the Stade des Alpes (October 19). Gilles was a good guy, of remarkable quality. A nice and very simple man. He breathed rugby through and through. Everyone appreciated him in the rugby world. Nowadays we are all sad and unhappy. »

Leave a Comment