INTERVIEW. Vincent Clerc-Ange Capuozzo, the meeting: “When the Stade Toulousain calls you, you take full eyes” (2/3)
While Italy and France will face each other on Sunday in Rome and in a few months at the World Cup, the opportunity was dreamed of bringing together the two former Grenoble residents, who broke through in Pro D2 before joining Toulouse. They talk about their arrivals in the “red and black” club, their acclimatization… Cross interview.
What did the Stadium represent to you before signing?
VC: I had never thought of that actually. I’m doing a year in Pro D2, it’s going pretty well and I had to extend. It doesn’t happen because (he pauses and smiles)… Well, here it is, it’s dragging on. The agent I had at the time said to me one day: “It’s the Stadium calling you.” You take full eyes. I had never projected myself and had never had any contacts. Overnight, I was told: the Stadium wants you. I thought a bit, called from right to left, like Ange in fact, asking what I should do. Many said it was up to me to feel it and make the decision.
AC: What’s odd is that it’s a club that makes the majority of players and children dream, but it’s one of the only clubs where I didn’t say to myself: “I want to play there. -down”, because I didn’t know if I had the right. It’s not that it’s scary but it’s an institution, with guys in place. In fact, when I had this contact, I was not prepared. And that impresses because we arrive at a winning club.
VC: When the Stadium calls you, it means it has a project for you, it needs your profile. I don’t believe there is a hierarchy. You are included in a group and you can be reassured when you are contacted. And concerning Ange, when you are young like him, when you have his profile, want to touch balls, perform and move up a notch, the question does not arise even if it would have been a good choice to stay at Grenoble.
And once you’re in the institution, does the perception change or does it reinforce the idea you have of it from the outside?
AC: Honestly, it’s better because you discover guys who are international stars and being able to rub shoulders with them on a daily basis means that you’re not at all disappointed with the kind of people they are, the mentality that there is within the club between the players, the staff, the supporters. The overall environment is super healthy and we understand that it’s impossible for it not to work. Everything is calculated so that it goes in the right direction. When after five minutes of discussion with the staff I was asked where my girlfriend was going to work, who was going to move with me, I understood that I was setting foot in a very healthy environment with people who want us to be in the best conditions.
VC: I was looking for what I had had in Grenoble. Even though I only did one year in Pro D2, I trained for 10 years there. I told myself that if I went there and it worked, I was going to stay there for a very long time. And that’s what happened. There is a stability in this club that makes you feel at home quickly when you prove yourself because it is important to fit in. And then you feel a family thing, which moves very little. When you’ve been there for years, you feel like you’re in a cocoon. A cocoon that always pulls you up because each year there is a sporting requirement, individual, collective, which means that it is always in demand for progress and to seek titles.
Ange, does the competition feed you?
Completely. I was also looking for that and what mainly motivated me to come was to be able to rub shoulders with great players to progress in training, to really challenge myself because when you reach a level that you doesn’t know, we put ourselves in a little danger and we are not sure that everything is going to be fine either. I was in this logic of telling myself that I was going to play with guys who have already proven themselves and won at international level, in the Top 14, in the European Cup. I experienced it rather well in the sense that there is competition which is quite healthy. We challenge each other really hard during the week but there are very few “bad shots”. We all pull ourselves up and we all need this. Even the guys who are in place today, they need a new guy to come along to challenge them.
We imagine that the quest for the first title is a driving force…
AC: Yes because for once, among young people, I couldn’t win too much because Romain Ntamack’s Stadium took a lot from us and Carbonel’s Toulon too (laughs). On the other hand, semi-finals and finals, we did a lot! So today I really can’t wait to find out what it looks like, to be the winner, to be on the side of those who take the final photo.
VC: I remember, I was proud to bring the Shield back to Grenoble because it counted in my career. It was a pride to put it in the back of the car, to show it to friends, to the club, it was great.