On the eve of the first training session, you are introduced to the players of RC Orléans on Monday August 1st. Who are you, David Penalva?
“I am a native of Bayonne, in the south-west, where I started rugby. Of Portuguese origin, I also played for the Portugal selection.
I was a professional rugby player for about fifteen years, and I fell into training following a shoulder injury.
I had always had a foot in it, with the youth categories, before being approached by the Portuguese selection to train the under-20s and seniors. I really liked it; and there was success, since we won two titles.
Behind, I wanted to train myself: I passed a state diploma (DE) at the CREPS in Toulouse, to better formulate the expectations that I have of the players, and also to transmit the experience that I had granted to the long for years.
I am starting my fourth season. I first exercised the Federal Hopes at Castanet, near Toulouse; then Les Espoirs in Colomiers, with whom we rose to the elite; and then, I exercised the group of Castanet, in Federal 1, where I had the role of manager.
I am also married; and I have three children aged 12, 8 and 7. And I’m 42.”
The preparation will last six weeks. Is this a sufficient cycle?
“It’s a bit short. Six weeks would have been good if there had been everyone. But some players have imperatives; I don’t blame them. If I had arrived earlier, I would have perhaps asked that we resume in July, perhaps the second week, before making a first cut at the end of the month, when everyone could have gone on vacation; and another in August… something we will work on with the players in the future.
“We are going to insert as much rugby as possible into the physical preparation… We have to optimize the time we have”
David Penalva (New manager of RC Orléans)
What are you going to insist on during this month and a half?
“Since we don’t have a lot of time, there will be a lot of sessions with integrated physical: we will immediately set foot in rugby, but on high intensity. We will not only do physical sessions otherwise, we would be going too far to have collective benchmarks on defense, on attack, on leaving the camp… We will insert as much rugby as possible into physical preparation.
We will also have a scene (in Lamotte-Beuvron, end of August) ; two friendly matches (at Drancy on August 20 and against Bourges on August 26, at the Montées stadium) ; a Saturday for the Olympics, too: for cohesion, it’s important. We will have to optimize all the time we have from today.”
And the objections?
“Two preparation matches is good; three would have been ideal. Given the step that has to be taken and the new rules to assimilate (and that’s not nothing): higher tackles , the right to pick and go, scrum pushes… There’s a lot to work on!”
How do you envision the season?
“We draw a balance sheet from a block of at least three matches. In this case, we will start by moving to two teams with, a priori, big ambitions (Chartres and Geneva), very reinforced staff, an operation that approaches professionalism (they actually train in the morning). So, we will make a first point on these three matches.”
“You have to arrive with your convictions, strengths, and stay in the game as much as possible.”
David Penalva (New RCO manager)
But on each match, it will also be necessary to succeed in putting the magnifying glass and knowing what we want to get out of it: take for example a minimum of points after a big cycle of defense, scratch the bonus point, and if we manage to badly our adversary, if there is a means of… We must not underestimate ourselves, nor overestimate the adversary. You have to arrive with your convictions, strengths, and stay in the game as much as possible.
At home, on the other hand, there will be zero concessions! There, it will be necessary to win at all costs. In Orléans, the teams must not come thinking that there is something to do.”
How many victories do you estimate the maintenance?
“I don’t know. I haven’t done the math yet. Not that it hasn’t occurred to me. But I don’t have enough perspective, especially since there is now a additional division (National 2).”
Do you have any idea of the value of your opponents?
“It’s still quite vague. A lot of teams are rising. But I have certain certainties about the level of the team here: I’ve seen its matches. Offensively, there are big bases: we see that does not date from today, that it was integrated by Jimmy (Belouet) for a moment. There is a big mark on it; the desire to move forward, to bring movement, continuity. It is a DNA to rely on.
Afterwards, there are areas to improve, in particular these new rules to understand.”
“Success and maintenance will depend on the involvement of everyone.”
David Penalva (New RCO manager)
How do you view the squad you deserve?
“Leaders emerged last year; we will have to continue to rely on these people. The new players will also bring their added value. And if others come forward, so much the better. But success and maintenance will require everyone’s involvement.”
The coaching duo that you are going to form with Jimmy Belouet seems complementary, between you the former forward and him the former rear?
“It’s a label that’s a bit easy to deduce from this” appetite for the forward game “. I’ve often played in teams, especially in Auch or Montauban, where it was very marked on the forward game , where you really had to mark the opponent. I start from the principle that indeed, you have to know how to win your balls, but I am very much on the alternation: if a team shows you that it is not capable of defending the Maul, we’re going to press on that to go score. And if another one has trouble defending on the outside, we’ll let go of the balls…. I love rugby!
“I will never deprive or frustrate a player on the pretext that because he is a pillar he must not place himself here, must not pass, but run straight”
David Penalva (New RCO manager)
I was also a little frustrated, when I was younger, by coaches who said that in front, you have to win balls in scrum and touch, and behind, not to touch it. Rugby has evolved; the fronts, from now on, are enormously solicited. They must be able to scrum push, topspin or jump into touch; to appear in the game, to know how to make passes, big or small, on both sides.David Penalva led his first session on Tuesday evening at the Montées stadium. The preparation of the RCO will be spread over six weeks before the first league match, against Chartres.
An international pillar today is capable of touching ten balls per game. I am for that. I will never deprive or frustrate a player on the pretext that because he is a pillar, he must not stand here, must not pass, but run straight… That will not be my policy. On the contrary: if there is a surplus, I prefer that a forward plays it regularly in training and that he is able to do it in match. And not after overwhelming him…
“We need to have a solid foundation on conquest; that we continue with the same philosophy in attack; that we have big certainties, too, in defense, because in Federal 1, it is essential. “
Calendar. RC Orléans is now certain: its first home game will be brought forward to Saturday evening September 17, against the PUC. Two other clubs have agreed to postpone their visit to Loiret by one day: Nuits Saint-Georges (December 10) and Annecy (February 10).
How do you judge the level between Federal 2 and Federal 1?
“It’s very wide. Teams can be very based on confrontation, with a big scrum, a maul, a good 10, and they won’t look any further offensively… Afterwards, others, who s “Train regularly, have an appetite for the three-quarter game, the speed game. At Castanet, this is the club’s philosophy. You have to be able to assess the opponent quickly, analyze his weak points and his strong points, and be as complete as possible to then press where it hurts, and insist.
Three training sessions are scheduled each week. But bodybuilding?
“It’s something that we have to make the players integrate into their training discipline: competition requires being physically ready, and bodybuilding is a fundamental factor in this sport in which there are a lot of areas of clashes, rucks, clearings; there are scrums, touches, tackles…”
I don’t ask players to be bodybuilders, but to prepare well: bodybuilding helps prevent injuries, to impose one’s physique. It’s primordial. We need to be aware of this if we want to exist in Federal 1.
Didier Bouriez, the new president of the club, is already projecting himself on the National 2.
“It’s consistent. We have just risen; the objective is to maintain ourselves as quickly as possible. I have known teams with big ambitions, displayed very high, very strong, with large squads, and yet, we But I also remember a year, at Blagnac, when with fifteen new players and a new coach, we moved up to ProD2 and where we played in a final when we couldn’t see ourselves there!
“There is a game philosophy. There is now an awareness to be had on the requirements of the Federal 1.”
David Penalva (New RCO manager)
It all depends on the comment that the mayonnaise takes. We will make a point at half-time. I told the players. If we are in the nails in everything, with a lot of victories, and if they want to get something between them, we will not be deprived. But it is important, this season, to continue to build on what has been done: there is a philosophy of play. There is now an awareness to be had on the requirements of the Federal 1. It is important to continue to build and why not, as the president said, in the medium term, to go to National 2. With a club like the RCO, and in a city like Orléans, it’s not a joke!