general all hazards? While the 2021-2022 season is just getting started in elite women’s rugby, the gap may not have been so great between the clubs. On the other hand, there are associations supported by a male professional club such as Montpellier, Romagnat-Clermont or Toulouse. On the other hand, teams that fight with their own resources, in an increasingly professional world.
The Villeneuve d’Ascq formation, LMRCV, is part of the second category. Founded in the elite for ten years, the Lille City Club is fighting to stay there after defining glory and the title of champion in 2016.
” Now or never “
“This season will be decisive. After tightening the number of clubs from 16 to 14 this season, there will be only 12 clubs next year. The goal is to stay there at all costs,” explains Alexandra Bertos, co-coach of the first team.
Evidence of the widening gap, LMRCV’s “damned chicks”, as they call themselves, were crushed (71-13) Sunday at Blagnac, the club of former international player, Frédéric Michalak, after winning their first game against Lyon (10-5).
“This is now or never,” adds former player and new president of LMRCV, Laura DiMusio. The train is gone, we should take action by attracting young talents from the region and maybe some coins.”
“We try to train as many players as possible”
Because today’s rugby is a crossroads. Clubs can invest 1,000 to 2,000 euros to recruit players. We haven’t seen that before,” Alexandra Bertos adds.
At Rennes, the team finds itself in a somewhat similar position as the LMRCV, without a professional men’s club to rely on. However, Breton club shares with Gauls Montpellier and its eight titles over the past fifteen years, the current greatest longevity in the elite, since 2005.
“We are trying to train as many players as possible, and the city of Rennes will help us create a large oval for us and the men’s club. This will allow us to have more facilities to keep ourselves at the top level,” notes Anne-Sophie Demoulin, President of Stade Rennais.
‘The gaps have already widened’
However, the club’s biggest problem remains the management of its four international matches, which most of the time are absent from tournaments around the world. “We are very proud that they wear the colors of the French national team, but for four years, we have not received compensation and when they are not there, we feel it because we no longer play in the same stadium with certain clubs,” he regrets. President.
As a result, the first league match ended in a historic defeat (70-0) against Toulouse, whose women’s club, for its part, benefits from the structures of the Toulouse stadium. “The gaps have really widened,” testifies Olivier Marin, director of the female stadium of Toulouse. Clubs do not fight by the same means. Obviously, professionalism is happening with us. Girls often benefit from the same methods as boys, whether video or medical. “
With nine international players, the team is clearly in pursuit of the title that is still a long way from them. For the Toulouse coach, “elite tightening is a necessary step if we want to attract the media”, even if he believes that “we should not leave coaching clubs aside”. It would be hard to find the equation for rugby union.
New Zealander living in France
Salvation can also pass through the participation of public authorities. The Hauts-de-France Regional Council decided to apply parity to top-level clubs. “From now on, we also provide aid of 200,000 euros to women’s clubs,” confirms Florence Pariso, vice president in charge of sports in the region. No benefit to LMRCV.
Another solution is smart recruitment. Like the arrival of 33-year-old New Zealander Te Tawassou in Villeneuve d’Ascq. “I think this is the first time in the French championship,” says Laura de Musio. A godsend, anyway, for the club that recruited her somewhat by chance on social networks.
“Proud explorer. Freelance social media expert. Problem solver. Gamer. Extreme travel aficionado.”