Purdue University revives college rugby

Purdue University revives college rugby

toThe French XV League had future international players in its ranks. Three times in a row, he won the Universiade World Cup for a short period, in 1992, 1996 and 2000, where youngsters already had one foot, or even both, in the elite, such as Fabien Bellos, Rafael Ibanez, Serge Betsen, Yannick Brou, Olivier Brouzet or Sébastien Chabal. . Then “France U” formed the national selection waiting room.

But it was another era, the era of transformation towards professionalism. financial problems…

toThe French XV League had future international players in its ranks. Three times in a row, he won the Universiade World Cup for a short period, in 1992, 1996 and 2000, where youngsters already had one foot, or even both, in the elite, such as Fabien Bellos, Rafael Ibanez, Serge Betsen, Yannick Brou, Olivier Brouzet or Sébastien Chabal. . Then “France U” formed the national selection waiting room.

But it was another era, the era of transformation towards professionalism. The financial risks were not the same, and elite clubs, despite the injury risks inherent in every match, agreed to allow these occasionally televised encounters. University training centers were set up on campus, with everything provided on site, both equipment and personnel, avoiding the increased number of return trips during the week with the cities whose colors they defended at the weekend. Now, everything goes through the club’s training centres.

Exception for Bill Peare

Like Thierry Dusutoire, who graduated in 2005 from the National School of Chemistry and Physics of Bordeaux, there is only one student from Bordeaux currently playing at the highest level. that it Louis Bell BaryWinger or full-back player at Union Bordeaux-Bègles. No word of apology needed. If the IUT Business and Management student does not wear a Purdue University jersey during the Universities World Cup, from September 21 to 28 in Pessac, it is because he has other commitments. On September 14, his effort sealed the win for Fabien Galthie’s Blues over Uruguay. It’s been a long time since his athletic career has slipped off the radar of Eric Swilley, coach of the Vice World University Champions.

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Coach Eric Swilley.

Thierry David / “Southwest”

“In college, players have different experiences. They can be bold and express themselves.”

In 2019, in Japan, Purdue beat, among others, the New Zealanders from Wellington and the Australians from Sydney, losing only in the final to South Africa from Cape Town (9-17). It is a great achievement, because in the Anglo-Saxon countries, university rugby still holds a central place in the scouting system. “In South Africa, the university finals are held in front of 30,000 people and broadcast in prime time on television,” Eric Swilley compares. “The following season, half of the Cape players turned professional,” adds Didier Soulier, who was coaching Bordeaux at the time. The University of Pretoria, for example, is the Bulls’ waiting room. »

A former deputy director of Purdue’s School of Sports and Physical Sciences and Technology (STAPS), he is leading the organization of the course The University World Cup, officially called the World University Rugby Invitational Championship (WRUIT). This invitational tournament, which was held in 2015 in Oxford, and whose budget this year reaches 370 thousand euros, was held in parallel with the Rugby World Cup, the major, and in the host country.

Laurian Boyer, one of ten players at UBB.
Laurian Boyer, one of ten players at UBB.

Thierry David / “Southwest”

freedom

It’s rugby union, but in two twenty-minute halves, while there is no longer a 15-team French university championship, a disadvantage compared to the crucibles that include the All Blacks, Wallabies and Springboks. Instead, there is a French university championship at seven, but also at ten, which curiously says a lot about recruitment problems. “To have a squad of 15 people throughout the year, between injuries and unavailability, we would need 50 to 60 names,” explains Eric Swilley. However, it is normal for clubs to prioritize their matches. Even at a lower level than Pro D2, they are sometimes reluctant to let their students meet with their university.

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“Amateur rugby, and this is a mistake, often want to imitate professional rugby,” believes Didier Soulier. It’s unfortunate because in college, players have different experiences. They can be bold and express themselves, without falling into excessive strategic constraints. “This is the advantage. The spirit of freedom has always been the charm of this group. The game plan is not determined by the staff, but is developed with the players. Encouraging active student participation is the foundation of good teaching. This is also true in this issue.

But rugby is not just about players. It’s a whole ecosystem. Didier Soulier emphasizes the role played by the former president of the FFR, Albert Veras: “He did everything to ensure that the top schools played rugby. The people who leave these schools tomorrow will be the top executives in France. This is how they become partners and sponsors, Because they have a rugby culture.”

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