Girondin Patrice Lagisquet qualifies Portugal for the World Cup

France Bleu Gironde: How is your heart after this incredible scenario?

Patrice Lagisquet : I’m fine as long as I don’t forget to take my pills every morning and I mustn’t continue for years to experience emotions like Friday’s.

What goes through your head when you see what is this drop that hits the post in the 81st minute? The God of Rugby is not with us?

In fact I know that the player tried this drop because he had the advantage. The referee had signaled the advantage. We had a sanction so he hit in a free manner. It’s a shame he doesn’t resist because it would have been even prettier to finish on that. But behind, we knew that the penalty was in our favor so there was an initiative and in fact, we knew that we still had a chance to win.

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It’s a scenario like the last few months, you struggled throughout the qualification process!

At one point it was dead because we had lost in Romania and Spain. And it’s true that we were caught on a decision taken on the green carpet which eliminated Spain. Unfortunately for them, because quite frankly, on the pitch, they had earned their qualification and it’s true that we have to catch up. It allowed us to continue to progress in relation to the shortcomings observed during the tournament and came out on this reward.

Do you have echoes of the maintenance or not besides provoked by your qualification in Portugal since this weekend?

I saw a video where there were people at the airport to welcome the players and the management. As we returned directly to France with some players and we returned from Dubai to Paris, we did not take advantage of all this event and then after the daily routine we quickly regained our rights. I found my family, I went back to work and I didn’t really have time to dwell on all that?

Is rugby popular in Portugal?

It’s a bit like the 80s in Argentina. It is a sport which is more confidential, but which is practiced and followed by enthusiasts. And there are clubs that have been around for a long time and that train players, good rugby players, who are creative, who like to take risks on the pitch. And it’s true that these people are really passionate, they have been behind the selection for three years. There is still an audience of aficionados. It is a country of 10 million inhabitants, you have to put everything into perspective.

At the World Cup against Wales, Georgia, Australia and Fiji, is the objective to continue learning?

We’ll lay low seen our opponents we are the 19th nation in the world. I think we still have a lot of work to do before we get closer to being able to compete with the Top Ten nations. But hey, on a few references, on a challenge to Japan, on a downright successful in a draw against Italy in July. We’re not too bad. We know that we can compete against teams that are supposedly stronger. We were perhaps considered Tom Thumb, which will be the case during the World Cup too. Above all, we will hope to continue to progress. Not to be ridiculous, to show that you are capable of playing rugby well. And if we can be a competitor in one or two matches, that will be very good

How should this participation in the World Cup help to structure the discipline in Portugal in terms of infrastructure, in terms of structuring a more competitive championship?

It should allow the continent to provide itself with some additional means in terms of material resources. But beyond that, it must create a craze to fill the clubs’ rugby schools even more, which are already well supplied. Then, I think that the DTN must realize that there is a lot of work to be done on the detection of young people. There are teams under 20 who are quite successful. But the problem with Portuguese rugby is that it is amateur and in fact, they have to manage to target the best under 16s to give them the means to prepare physically, to have a project a little more ambitious and above all to join a team that was created last year called Lusitanians XV which is a franchise and participates in a championship, the European super cup with Georgian, Romanian, Belgian, Dutch franchises and this franchise must take on a totally professional character if we really want Portuguese rugby to reach a new dimension.

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