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We have the chance to talk at length with the former player of the XV of France Lénaïg Corson. Throughout this interview, the French returned with us on her recent news with the Wasps club, but also on her plans for the future, linked both to sport and to another area that is dear to her: Environmental Protection. We also talked about the career of the French women’s team during the last World Cup, and the evolution of women’s rugby, in France as elsewhere.
In this first part of the interview, Lénaïg Corson confides in her recent misadventure with the English club Wasps, a club she joined in the offseason but which has since been placed in compulsory liquidation. A complicated situation, but which did not attach the motivation of the French international which explains why she wanted to join England, and the differences she sees, in the promotion of women’s rugby, compared to France.
“Here, they are very good around the” sport business “and in the promotion of women’s sport”
Lenaig CorsonPhoto credit – Icon Sport
Lénaïg, we know that you have been hit hard by the crisis within the Wasps club (the club was placed in compulsory liquidation and had to lay off its employees, including the club’s players, editor’s note). So first tell us how you are, and how you experienced this situation.
After being only a month and a half at the club to play, I did not expect such a turnaround! I had left with a lot of ambitions, intentions, and overnight, the financial problems of Wasps arrived on the carpet.
Three days after arriving in England, I received, from my friends, French articles which evoked the situations of Worcester and Wasps. I then talk to the club leaders who tell me not to worry, that solutions have been found and that the situation is not as critical as in Worcester. So, I trust and I tell myself that it will be fine. Back in Paris for the Nuit du Rugby, people keep talking to me about Wasps news and I answer that I am well informed but that everyone at the club tells me that it will be fine.
On October 17, we learn that the club is placed in compulsory liquidation but again everyone remained positive and we were told that solutions were going to be found, that there were three investors on the project and that the club was going to be bought. . Inevitably, I tell myself that I will be able to stay at the club. But I nevertheless asked to have a more in-depth interview with the person in charge of the women’s structure, who told me very realistically that there was no more money, that my visa was on hold because the Wasps no longer existed. And since my salary came from the male structure of the Wasps, all this put me off a bit.
I wonder if I was going to be able to stay at the club, especially since life in London is expensive and you can’t live on love and fresh water! I am also going to announce that I am leaving the club but the good news for me is that I am a player who has a track record, who has skills from other clubs so I will be able to bounce back elsewhere.
So you have other avenues for the rest of your career, in England or elsewhere?
Yes. It’s not official yet, but it will be in England. I really wanted to continue my adventure in this country because I knew why I had left: I was therefore to experience something new, to get out of my comfort zone. England remains a country not too far from France, which allows me to go back and forth.
I also wanted to discover the Anglo-Saxon vision that has always provided me. Here, they are very good around the “sport business” and in the promotion of women’s sport. So I’m going to try to take inspiration from what they’re doing here to, why not one day, see what can be reproduced in France.
So precisely, you now have the advantage of knowing two different systems. What big differences do you see between the vision of rugby in England and the one we can have in France?
In recent years, England have really taken a step forward. Since the 2014 World Cup, there was a real momentum for women’s rugby in France. People come in large numbers to the stadiums to see the France team. And the English were a bit envious of this enthusiasm. They were therefore inspired by what was well done in France. And today, the England team has taken over because there has been the development of a global strategy around women’s rugby.
This strategy took into account not only the national team but also the elite clubs, chose which does not necessarily exist in France. We put a lot of focus on the France team, with a lot of promotion around the team and more resources than before. But in France, for the clubs, very little is done, in terms of broadcasting matches on TV for example.
In England, there is a real strategy around elite teams, with Allianz as a sponsor of the Premiership which is helping the championship to develop. We can follow the players of the English national team in selection but also in their clubs. And this promotion of the championship also makes it possible to discover other small nuggets.
The English league is, for me, one of the most attractive in the world, with Australian, New Zealand, Irish, Scottish, Welsh and even French players with me. There is real vision in the Premiership and the RFU (the English Rugby Federation, editor’s note) really play the game to help with this development. With a target of 100,000 licensed players in 2025! It’s ambitious, but it corresponds to the growing interest of women in rugby. For the World Cup, for example, I was surprised to see so many female journalists covering the event. There was a real enthusiasm and it was taken seriously, contrary to what could be implemented in France.
The rest of this interview to discover tomorrow on Quinze Mondial…
We have the chance to talk at length with the former player of the XV of France Lénaïg Corson. Life in England, situation at Wasps, evolution of women’s rugby, environment in sport… the Frenchwoman shared her vision on many subjects. To be found exclusively on Quinze Mondial.
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