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Winds of renewal blow over ASM Clermont

So I just opened a new course. After seven years (2014-2021) with Franck Azéma on the sidelines, ASM this week kicked off the first year of the Jono Gibbes era. If the early hours were for traditional back-to-school communications and speeches between staff and players, soon everyone got to work. The New Zealand technician’s apparent relaxation and mutual smiles may be misleading: Yes, Clermontois did not hesitate to wear a warm blue. Juno Gibbs has a mission in mind, which is to bring the club back to the top of the hierarchy. He does not intend to waste time.

Juno Gibbs: “It’s good to be back in Auvergne”

“It’s a new season and everyone is very excited,” he said after public training yesterday. Those first two days went very well. I find the players and staff very enthusiastic. Personally, I have high expectations for the team. In this club the accuracy of work and the desire to progress. These are the things that have not changed in ASM. “

Physics, strength and tests

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The former La Rochelle coach had already had his first experience with Auvergne. From 2014 to 2017, the New Zealander coached the Clermont strikers. But since this joint adventure, the technician has gained depth and experience. In four seasons at Ulster (2017-2018), Waikato (2018) and at Rochelle Stadium (2018-2021), Juno Gibbs has dressed as his boss. Zee feels comfortable with him now. Nor would ASM players say otherwise.

The first training sessions were very rhythmic. In a couple of days, Morgan Parra’s partners have already done physical work, bodybuilding and a set of tests. On the meadow of Pace Stadium, the players present during this recovery period for example beat the smaller stages of play into two separate groups. Juno Gibbs, who likes to be in touch with the field, was most of the time among his men to correct situations that did not suit him.

Argentina’s Thomas Lavanini in training

Davit Zirakashvili: The Return of the KingDavit Zirakashvili smiles at recovery. Richard Brunel’s photo

In his La Rochelle baggage, the new strongman from ASM brought with him a face well known to Clermont supporters. Davit Zirakashvili, the former right-hand column, is now the coach of the Auvergne team. If this plenary session did not have the theme of this sector of play, the Georgian was also in the promoter and exchanged with players who are, for the most part, his former teammates. This history of the club, two-time French champion with ASM, is happy to be there and can be read on his face. But everyone also knows the accuracy shown by “Dato” …

“In the scrum I want to put in some small details I spotted, confirmed Georgian. It is a delicate work I intend to do. I hope to make ASM one of the best in the top 14.”

An ambitious speech inevitably delights supporters of “yellow and blue”. But do they need this to impress Davit Zirakashvili? Probably not, because the few hundred fans present at Pace were delighted to have one of the club’s guardians back.

Signatures though health instructions

This loyal ‘Yellow Army’ was also especially happy to be able to approach the favorite again. After months of denial and frustration, players and fans are once again able to connect with each other. The general atmosphere has not yet prevailed (the workforce still has specific health instructions). But the few autographs signed exclusively for children were somewhat reminiscent of pictures from the world before.

So it seems that the winds of renovation are blowing over the craftsman and the small in size. It’s up to Jono Gibbes, crew and players to raise the sails to go as far as possible. In any case, this appears to be the path set by the captain of the ASM.

Arno Clerge

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