The legend that Eric Champ trusts

The legend that Eric Champ trusts

toThe first World Cup in rugby history was held in 1987 in New Zealand. The French XV reach the first final of this global competition to face the formidable All Blacks. This match will remain legendary despite France’s defeat. And at the heart of the legend is Eric Champ.

In April 2023, he was one of the first ten players inducted into the FC Toulon Hall of Fame. During his playing career, Eric Champ made 42 international appearances, including two World Cups (1987, 1991), and was captain of the Toulon Rugby Club and the French XV.

the point : After the performances of Chile against Japan and Uruguay against France, are you surprised by the level of these small countries in rugby?

Eric Champ: The World Cup is still incredible. The memory I have in New Zealand from the 1987 World Cup is seeing the Fijians arriving in a jacket and shirt and instead of trousers, a robe, I found that extraordinary. The magic of the World Cup is seeing the champions, and in the middle, the different personalities, the little thumbs that will impress you. Even more so with the audience now, it’s unbelievable. I love this sport!

We must stop thinking that it is easy to score 60 points during the World Cup

Today, rugby has developed all over the world. There are no small teams anymore. If these teams are in the World Cup, it’s because they are strong. Qualifying is very complicated, you have to fight to get there. We have to stop thinking that it is easy to score 60 points during the World Cup.

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You are a former third row who participated in the first final in the history of the World Cup. What do you think of our third row?

First of all, I am very happy for Anthony Jelonjic, he was able to return to competition. It’s unbelievable, this comeback. I see a similarity to the third line we had at the time during the 1987 World Cup. Gregory Alldrete, like Laurent Rodriguez, is a powerful player who is constantly coming forward and stealing balls. François Cros makes strong tackles, inserting his head and arms without thinking (He laughs)Like Dominique Urbani. In all humility, as for movement and connection with the caliphs and fronts, with this modest movement I had, I would look more like Charles Ollivon.

You’ve been on the journey with me, but I won’t let you go. There will be injuries and difficult times, but I will be there and I will not forget

We are thrilled to have Anthony Jelonche back. What does this return mean to you after six months without any matches? This could be risky, right?

Antony is important because he was one of the pioneers during the birth of France XV. Galthie’s outstretched hand to this boy, I find it exceptional and sends an important message to the group. It means: You have been with me on the journey, but I will not let you go. There will be injuries and difficult times, but I will be there and I will not forget.

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When you ask players to donate their bodies on the field, it’s much easier. The player does it for the team, but also for his coach. The case of Gabin Villiers was the same. We could have buried him after his multiple injuries, but no, Galthia had not forgotten him. The spirit of this group is great.

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Are you disappointed with this New Zealand team? You who played matches against them, can we talk about the worst generation in history?

Yes and no, it’s hard to make comparisons. We have an amazing French But when you see players like Beauden Barrett, the New Zealand full-back, taking an unbelievable number of kicks, it’s disappointing. It is an arrow with special wings and instead of using them, it uses the foot…

The Black Team remains a hardworking team that masters both individual and team styles. But they are missing some exceptional players, with a third line that is surprisingly weak, both physically and in terms of tenacity. This will be their big problem. Like South Africa. They have a great team, but they don’t have a goalscorer, and you can’t expect, barring a miracle, to go far in the competition without a great goalscorer.

We will have to miss fewer tackles, matches will be decided based on details, and we will have to be very precise. It can be played on the ball

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After France’s first two matches in the World Cup, are you concerned about the future of the competition?

Even if you are worried about the level of some players in the match against Uruguay (because the further we go in the competition, the fewer tackles we will miss, matches will be decided based on details, and we have to be very precise). (You can play with the ball), I don’t see who can prevent us from winning the title. We have the best generation in the history of Ligue 15 with amazing talent.

I’m telling you that, but we can miss that, we can be prepared mentally and physically, but in rugby, no one knows that. It’s about the details. There are very strict rules today. This is another discussion. Obviously I’m in favor of protecting players, but when players hit each other head-on without doing so intentionally, in the heat of the moment, and you have to play to 14 men because of a red card, then the game is necessarily over. New development. Against a well-prepared team, it was over. The greatest enemy of the 15th of France is the 15th of France. certainly.

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