The USAP has built its legend on its roughness, its physical commitment, its touch of madness at the origin of the last Catalan quarter of an hour. Since the start of the season, the end of matches have been far from being to the advantage of the Catalans…
The famous Catalan quarter of an hour marked the imagination of French rugby. In the 1950s, adversaries feared the fury of the USAP which threw all its last forces into battle, to redress a compromised situation, overthrow a clinging adversary or press on the head of an overwhelmed rival. Jo Maso remembers the words of Jep Desclaux, the emblematic coach of 1955, who was still that of the team of the years 1964-68, the one where Maso wore the azure jersey struck with the blood and gold crest. “Nineswe said Jep, cal fa petat de per tot!” (Guys, you have to fart everywhere…) Only problem, the team of the Maso years did not have the same quality of the one which succeeded in the double in 1955. “At the timeremembers Joe, No matter how much Jep told us to blow up everything, we don’t have the means to do it…” The legend of the last quarter of an hour Catalan was alive in the minds, many months on the ground.
This season, the USAP is struggling to properly manage its last quarter hours. Since the start of the season, it’s been a part of the match that she has struggled to master. In ten days, she conceded fifteen tries in this famous last quarter of an hour, let slip at least two victories (Pau, Bayonne), lost the opportunity to win a match within her reach on a treacherous interception two minutes from the shot. final whistle (Brive). A largely detailed balance sheet that answers a few questions. Why these difficult endgames. Is it a physical, tactical, mental problem? This week, after the breathtaking final moments of France-South Africa, Fabien Galthié explained how he worked on the end of the match, with different scenarios, to erase the weaknesses seen at the start of his staff’s mandate. The XV of France, too, had cruelly kissed the flag and lost matches within its reach in the last moments, such as the France-Springboks of 2018, where a try in additional time deprived Guy Novès’ team of a success prestige (26-29).
Matter of trust
“Don’t worry, we are also working on the different endgame scenarios, assures Patrick Arlettaz, the manager of the USAP. We try to imagine situations, with physical, tactical, repressed characteristics. We try to imagine phases where fatigue makes us less lucid. Our difficulties at the end of the match, we received them, of course. They are due to nervousness, palpable when the final whistle approaches, and the match is not played. If we take the Brive match, we can score, we don’t, it starts badly and doubt creeps into people’s minds.”
Arlettaz, Marty and their deputies heard Fabien Galthié’s speech. “But it doesn’t always turn out the way it says in the books., continues Arlettaz. Stress situations are not the same in rehearsals in training or in matches. The fatigue is not the same, the noise, the environment either. It is not the same thing to attempt the penalty for winning in front of teammates in training, or in a noisy, even hostile environment. To try and succeed in things, you need the insurance of the players, the confidence. It’s not the same to think “ouch, ouch, we can lose this game…” we “ouch, ouch, we’re going to get this match…“What we are trying to create in training are the conditions to win matches. And USAP also won some in the last quarter of an hour, against Toulon or Biarritz last year! “
It remains to initiate the right spiral, the one that tips the balance in the right direction. And find the famous Catalan quarter of an hour.