Colomiers rugby is preparing to play, Friday August 5, the first friendly match of its pre-season preparation against Soyaux-Angoulême. The opportunity to hone their skills against a promoted team that will have a lot to prove.
It is always difficult to draw lessons from these friendly matches, which are unreadable by the number of players who play them or the technical deficit observed. But it remains a highly important moment in the preseason, as head coach Julien Sarraute explains: “The physical preparations are going well in general. The players wanted to get together, the atmosphere is studious and good. But we are going to change gear with the appearance of friendly matches, which bring a little more pressure.”
The first meeting of the Columérins will thus take place at the Chanzy stadium in Angoulême. Soyaux-Angoulême will be one of the two teams promoted this season to Pro D2. Under the orders of experimentation Vincent Etcheto, the SA XV managed to regain the lift. There is no doubt that Pierre Laffitte’s partners will want to go out and register for the long term in Pro D2. This life-size test will be a first experiment for the promoted, but also for Colomiers. Because the sites are numerous for the group of Julien Sarraute and Fabien Berneau.
“Saaidia has no excuse”
First, for legal reasons, rookies Jack Whetton and Marco Fepulea’i, who arrived on Monday August 1, could not yet play. Max Auriac could play for a few minutes. But with the combined injuries of Beka Sheklashvili and Hugo Pirlet, whose return to competition is soon, the right side of the first line will be largely rejuvenated.
Under-20 international Robin Bellemand should start, he will be replaced by the other hopeful Toma Kolokilagi. “We could even have three straight pillars of the training center, smiles Julien Sarraute. He also sees this friendly match as “opportunities to gain playing time and experience” for these young players: “It will be very educational for them. The more young people tan leather, the better their learning will be.”
Youssef Saaidia, who was suspended by the French Anti-Doping Agency (AFLD), has not exercised since July 1. He will not be traveling in Charente. “Even if we will accompany him as well as possible, he has no excuse. Certainly it was negligence more than a desire to dope. But he must assume all his responsibility for it.” For Julien Sarraute, who wants to “look straight ahead”, the ambition of this first deadline is “global”: “We know that we will have a lot of waste, that we will lack automation, but we must have quality in the game. I expect this awareness from the boys.”