Interview. Pro D2. Mauricio Reggiardo (Provence Rugby): “Our department deserves to have a club in the Top 14”

Mauricio Reggiardo hopes to qualify Provence Rugby for its first final stages of Pro D2. (©Icon Sport)

landed at Provence-Rugby in the spring of 2021, after his dismissal from Castres, the Argentine manager Mauricio Reggiardo (52) experienced a second change of assistant coaches this summer, with the combined arrivals of Jacques Delmas and Stéphane Glas. After having failed at the gates of the top 6 last season, on the final day, he hopes that this season 2022-2023 will finally be the right one and will allow the people of Aix to taste their first final stages, before aiming for a climb to the Top 14 in the not so distant future. Before the start of the Pro D2 season, the former pillar of the Pumas (50 selections) was appointed to Rugby News.

News: How did you experience the summer reinforcements of Stéphane Glas (three-quarter coach) and Jacques Delmas (forward coach)?

Mauricio Reggiardo: There were the arrivals of these two technicians, but also that of Gareth Adamson, as performance manager. The roles were distributed fairly simply. There is a lot of expertise and know-how, so everything is going very well. They are coaches that have a lot of experience and have lived through many seasons and pre-seasons. There is really control and no panic. Anyway, it’s going well with all the people, as long as you don’t have to make team compositions or choices, everyone is happy.

It is normal that some outside observers can imagine a certain instability in Provence Rugby, but this is not the case.

Mauricio ReggiardoGeneral Manager of Provence Rugby

Since your arrival in Aix-en-Provence in March 2021, you have already changed assistants twice. Is it more difficult to build and work in continuity?

M: Provence Rugby is a growing and developing club. It’s normal that some outside observers might imagine some instability, but that’s not the case. Each time, these are levels that the club tries to overcome. This season we have added a third professional physio and a second video analyst, and this is part of the growth of the club.

A word about your 2022-2023 recruitment, with 10 recruits, including some nice shots (Taieb, Harrison, Lapègue, Sanday or Jegerlehner)…

M: We are happy with this recruitment. We wanted to rejuvenate the workforce, but above all to obtain leadership and qualities in this group. When you recruit, it’s to bring added value and I think that’s the case during this off-season. Afterwards, you have to win matches with this squad to aim for the first 6 qualifying places and we are preparing to do so this year.

Last year, you narrowly missed the top 6. What did you miss?

M: It’s the first part of the season that weighed us down, because it wasn’t great in terms of results. Our rugby was not in place and we were less connected. We were still on the continuity of the previous season which had been quite tested, since we had played the maintenance until the last day. We took time to regain the taste for victory and to win. Sometimes we doubted at the end of the match, which we did less during the return phase. After the winter break, we were able to achieve and win games, which we weren’t able to do at the start of the season. Over the year 2022, we have also managed to remain undefeated at home, since we remain on a series of 8 victories at Maurice-David. At the exit, our place in the final phase was decided for nothing, during the final day of the regular phase, but I think that we mainly lost qualification at the start of the season.

How to prevent such a delayed ignition so that it does not happen again?

M: It is sure and certain that we will not have to miss the start of the championship. We learned from the two underperformances suffered at home, at the start of last season against Narbonne and Rouen. We know very well that we will have to prepare each match properly in order to be ready and competitive every weekend.

The key to success is to have a club that has an identity, a game philosophy and real know-how. But it takes time.

Mauricio ReggiardoGeneral Manager of Provence Rugby

Will this 2022-2023 season finally be the right year to qualify for the final phase?

M: When we are going to unveil the new objectives, we cannot say that we want to do the same as last season (7th, two points from the top 6, editor’s note). We will have to do better and therefore be in the 6. We have the means and the qualities in the staff and among the players to achieve this ambition, and above all we really want to do it.

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The manager of Castres, Mauricio Reggiardo,
After 7th place last year, Mauricio Reggiardo clearly aspires to a place in the Top 6 during this 2022-2023 season. (©Icon Sport)

Significant financial and activated resources have been deployed in recent years at Provence Rugby. What do you need to overcome this milestone of the top 6?

M: Little by little, we are building our identity and we are in the process of developing our game philosophy. Except that all this does not happen overnight. Today, we have players from our training who are selected with the France under-20 team (Simon Tarel and Malohi Suta, editor’s note) and our categories of young people who are developing and managing to get results. We are starting to take out a lot of young players from our academy. This is part of building a club and allows us, step by step, to create our own identity. We are working a lot on this aspect. It takes time, but I think it’s the key to success: having a club that has an identity, a game philosophy and real know-how. When you lack a bit of identity, you tend to put yourself on the level of the opposing team. Whereas when you have your rugby and your identity, you never adapt. In the future, we must force our opponent to adapt to our rugby and not the other way around. We have to grow our club culture and only success can help us move that forward.

Do you feel that there is a place to take to become the first Bouches-du-Rhône club in the elite of French rugby, 35 km from Marseille and 90 km from Toulon?

M: In all the big cities, there are Top 14 rugby clubs. We are near Marseille, in a very rugby region, which deserves to have a Top 14 club. medium-long term of Provence Rugby. Our president Denis Philipon does not want to skip the stages. It is made of solid foundations and we continue to build around this every year. The Top 14 is clearly the goal that our club wants to achieve in future years and this requires a big 2022-2023 season.

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