The AOCS club has been heading for the upcoming season in Regional 2 for a few weeks now. The objective is clear, to go as far as possible in this new competition and in a group with a strong Aude and Catalan accent.
On April 10, at the Borde Basse stadium in Castres, the AOCS was eliminated (16-9) in the Honor Promotion play-offs of the Occitanie championship by the Tarnais Aviron Castrais. Worse, their captain and scorer, Bertrand Artéro put an end to his sports career. This early elimination, far from the title of champion of France 1before series of 2019, already signed the end of the season.
Since then, AOCS leaders have gone back to work. No question of brooding too long. Especially since the club organized a few final phase matches in Cuxac-d’Aude last spring. Enough to get some money into the coffers and keep the troops on alert. In mid-July, the first training sessions therefore resumed. In a select committee, the one “scorers” on the somewhat dry meadow of Ouveillan. With a lot of surprises in store. If Sébastien Verdou and Laurent Baraillé continue the adventure, others plunge back into it with delight like Kiko Maestre, back home, and….Bertrand Artero. “Kiko” for the forwards and Bertrand for the back lines with a double role: “that of lending a hand if necessary”, confirms the former retiree from the field. Who also should, following a promise made to its president Serge Alvarez, replay a match in full at home: “whoever he chooses”laughs the ex-retired.
If Jordan Delpech, back from the ROC, Jean-Baptiste Gongora, Clément Roujas and therefore Bertrand Artéro therefore returned to the post, they were accompanied by the scorers of the RCN Féminin. Proof that rugby is increasingly combined in the plural. Nice initiative!
A difficult hen
On August 3, collective training also resumed. “On Wednesday, the first and reserve teams will train together, then on Friday separately. And on Sunday of course! Our squad will be 60 to 65 players and we want to avoid, like last year, duplication for compensate for the absence of players injured or suffering from Covid. This played tricks on us at the end of the season but we never cheated by forfeiting”rejoices Artero.
To do well in this group 2 of the Regional 2, the AOCS did not have to deplore any significant departures, it did not record a lot of arrivals or returns to the club (see below). It will take that to exist throughout the season “alike objective of going as far as possible without claiming to become champion of France”, hopes the new Aude coach. The AOCS would like to be further strengthened by the arrival of first and second line players.
But what matters most to him, “It’s that the players consume the pleasure of playing rugby and being together. Those are the lessons I’ve learned from the pandemic and our team shouldn’t be bad at all even if the hen ogre, Corbières XV, seems to have armed itself a little more”adds Bertrand Artéro.
Two friendly matches are already scheduled before the official season opener in Millas (September 18). It will be against the B team of Sporting Club Leucate Corbières Méditerranées (Federal 2) and AS Canet d’Aude, vice-champion of France. Dates and venues are still to be determined.
The synthetic of Sallèles d’Aude should be available to the club in the coming days. “A real added value when training on rainy days”, welcomes Artéro. Who would also like to thank Laurette Jalabert, Théo Ubeda and junior Justin Jayasuriya who take care with talent of the Aude club’s website where the term volunteering keeps its full meaning.