After a career in pro and amateur rugby, Maxime Carabignac decided to hang up his crampons this summer. Back on his journey.
On the paper list of players’ movements in the off-season provided by the club during the general assembly, a name and a first name have been added to the sheet by hand: “Maxime Carabignac, stop”.
Emotion. “Max” – like his three other Layrac teammates who were stopping their playing careers – received a vibrant tribute from the audience, but the scrum half was excused absent for professional reasons.
The former pro decided to put an end to his career even though he consumed a lot of pleasure in playing competitively. His body beckoned him to stop so as not to jeopardize his afterlife. Mathieu de Carli and Eric Bourdeilh agreed to this decision. “I couldn’t force all the training sessions with health problems and on Sundays I played. I had to respect the group too, it had been running through my head since the middle of last season”, says the new retiree from the oval.
His new life
Monday July 25, 2022 (like every Monday at the end of the day), in the parking lot of the Pénétro stadium, the food truck Hyp’s Truck is installed. On board, Maxime is there to serve gourmets with burgers accompanied by local products. Not far from there, the players have already put on their crampons to attack the 2022-2023 season on the lawn. Weird feeling. Maxime has turned the page to continue writing that of the company of which he is co-manager with Mohamed Djemaï. It’s been almost two years since their Tube Citroën transformed into a mobile restaurant has been a hit in the Agenais and part of the Gers. Maxime a tradesman’s soul. His parents ran the tobacco press in Pont-du-Casse for 23 years. The young Carabignac had fallen into the pot of trade and that of rugby in Pont-du-Casse at the COP until minimal with already a passion for angling.
“I went around. It was time to stop. I had some good rugby moments. I had a great time,” he admits. His best memory: “To have brought the SUA back to the Top 14 with the title of French Pro D2 champion in 2010”. Then, he decides to turn the page leaving the “blue and white” on this good note.
Maxime does not forget his international career with the French youth teams. An adventure shared with Suavistic teammates: Benjamin Sore, Jean Monribot, Thibaut Lassalle, Damien Lagrange or Michel Denêtre.
The Page with Henry Broncan
With 122 games played with the pros with Agen, Albi and Colomiers, an equally large number with the amateur clubs of Tournon-d’Agenais, Layrac and the New Zealand club Glenfield, the player marked his time in this marked sport in family DNA.
Henry Broncan, the Gers sorcerer, admits a “very great complicity with Maxime”.
Coming to SU Agen, Henry discovered Maxime when he was a Hope. Mathieu Barrau held the position in the first team. “They shared the position with the liveliness of Maxime’s youth and Mathieu’s profession,” explains Broncan.
“Maxime was part of the team that beat Toulon d’Umaga 33 to 0”, underlines the Gers coach, “he was then rather confined to Hope with Christian (Lanta) and Christophe (Deylaud) and it is that’s why I took him with me when I went to Albi in 2010. He became the leader of the Albi team. When I left Albi, he went to Colomiers. He had me asked my opinion. I had told him that it would work. Maxime was a very gifted player physically. Sometimes, he did not think enough about his game and if he was asked to think about it, his performance was less good. is a player by instinct. I took great pleasure in meeting him with Miélan during our games with Layrac. As a former scrum-half, we have a great bond everywhere”.
A treat to evoke the career of Maxime Carabignac. “When he enters a field, it’s for fun, to play, to have fun,” adds Broncan.
Maxime Carabignac was French rugby sevens champion with SU Agen in Bayonne. “We beat Stade Toulousain in the final 35 to 0,” said Broncan. “The Toulousains had a very good team with Irribaren… We are having an extraordinary tournament. The Bourdeilh brothers accompanied me. Unforgettable!”.
Maxime’s transition to amateur rugby was made with friends “in a good spirit at Tournon”. “I found there: Olivier Sverzut, Anthony Tarrit, Guillaume Robert. We had good matches. We had good results”.
In New Zealand, Maxime combined rugby and discovery of the country with “fishing once a week in magnificent lands”.
The Basquet-Carabignac generation
Maxime played his last match at the Pénétro stadium with Layrac in the first leg against Barbezieux on May 29. His little family was present as if to accompany him in this “der” in Agenais. Maxime had assigned us during the final stages when Paul-Louis Basquet returned to competition after a long absence through injury that they were linked by their stories. “It’s fabulous that we happen to play together when we know that our grandfathers, our fathers played in the same team at the SUA. Who knows if our sons will play together? It would be the fourth generation Basquet-Carabignac “, he continues.
Maxime is not going to leave Penetro with the Hyp’s Truck parked on Monday evenings. This decision to stop playing for self-preservation is respectable and respected.
“He’s a great player who has made the club grow,” explains Matthieu de Carli. “He’s a boy who understands things faster and analyzes at great speed. He is able to find solutions against all opponents. He makes his partners shine.
Boy who despite his fine career remains in his place, easy to manage and who tries to bring his stone to the building in support of his coaches”. The ASL manager continues: “He will leave a magnificent image on the side of Pénétro to all those who had the chance to see him play. He is hampered by injuries, which unfortunately forced him to stop his magnificent career for us.
Maxime Carabignac is part of the Charlots Club of Agen. He can still touch the ball if he wants to. With this rugby without constraints and with friends or “idols like François Tandonnet”.