INTERVIEW. Stade Toulousain: “I wanted to see another rugby”, Pierre-Louis Barassi reveals behind the scenes of his arrival

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Just arrived from Lyon, the neo-Toulouse is gradually taking his marks with the “red and black” and in his new city. He tells behind the scenes of his arrival.

How were these few days with the French team in Marcoussis?

Pretty good (smiles). I’m happy to have been able to accompany the guys, I think it’s important that there are many of us during these periods to be able to work well. I’m happy to have been there, at least I kept the rhythm and I can resume competition straight away because I haven’t rested too much. And I haven’t had any sores, so everything is fine.

You were born in Alsace and your father was a high-level handball player… How did you come to rugby?

I moved to Narbonne at the age of 5 and that’s where I got into rugby because it’s the king sport there. I had started handball too, I was doing both at the same time, then at one point, when I was 10, I had to choose between the two and I decided to get into rugby.

You arrive from Alsace before joining the South, you acclimatize directly?

Yes, it’s a welcoming region, the people are just as welcoming, so I didn’t have too much trouble adapting even though it’s been a while. I then left town when I was 18…

And there you joined Lyon where you evolved for six years before returning to the South-West…

I had missed the region (laughs). So this week we don’t feel like we’re in the South West, it’s more like Normandy or Brittany… But overall I’m happy to be back.

“When making my decision, I weighed the pros and cons; and there were a lot of pros…”

Why did you choose to sign at Stade Toulousain?

I wanted to see something else, to discover another type of rugby. I had spent six years in Lyon and I had never known other professional clubs so when I had the opportunity to join the Stadium, I took it. And today I’m doing everything to be an important player in this team and give the best of myself.

are you waiting to tell the backstage of your arrival?

I knew long in advance that I was going to come here. I had been in discussions with the club for a while. As soon as I could be released (he was at the end of his contract with the LOU, editor’s note), Stade Toulousain called me, we discussed and I weighed the pros and cons. There were a lot of pros so I decided to take the plunge. I had the opportunity to extend with Lyon but for me it was the end of a cycle. Pierre Mignoni was leaving, a lot of guys were leaving, I thought it was time for me…

When you arrive at Ernest-Wallon, do you already know any players in the squad?

Yes I knew a lot of people, I had friends and I had already played with several Toulousains in Blue or with the Espoirs. The adaptation was not very complicated from this point of view and I discovered here a lot of guys who are extraordinary.

Who welcomed you during your first days?

Honestly when I arrived everyone was on vacation because they had finished the championship later (laughs). No, there was Lucas Tauzin who was there and whom I knew from among the young people…

How is your new life in Toulouse going?

I’m getting used to it more and more, I was able to take advantage of it a bit and I noticed that it was a city that revolved a lot around rugby. I live right in the city center and it’s pretty cool, there’s excitement. I am not recognized in the street so it is not so bad for me. I am going very well.

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