Freelance comes to an end. For the moment. Arrived July 17 at the LOU, after eight seasons in Toulon, Mathieu Bastareaud played his last match with Lyon this Sunday. Before joining for three weeks the British Barbarians then the United States where he will play for seven months with the New York Major League team.
"He did not come on vacation to Lyon, he did a good job," breathed Baptiste Couilloud, the young captain of Lyon (22 years). Bastareaud, 31, brought all his experience to the LOU, topping the current Top 14 (7 wins, 1 loss). In Lyon, the star of French rugby has been repositioned … third line.
"It was a big challenge for him, explains Pierre Mignoni, the manager of the club. He had the ability to change jobs. This is a success because he is now convinced that he can perform well in this position. He had ups and downs, he put himself in danger. Congratulations to him. "
"I took pleasure in this new position, summarizes the person. I did not try the adventure to make everyone laugh. I took it seriously. Yes, I liked it. I was coming out of a year where I had not had fun, rugbyly speaking. I changed my job a little in the space of four months. Playing in front has nothing to do. These are not the same efforts. I do my mea culpa … Often, behind, we usually scream on the forwards when they forget and I understand a little now (laughs). "
And now ? In New York, but which position? Center? Third line? "Third line is an option for my future coaches. So why not ? But I do not really like cabbage ears, "laughs Bastareaud.
Leaving with panache
In any case, he was challenged by his former teammate in Toulon, Guilhem Guirado: "I did not see him jump in touch yet, but I hope it's not over and that he reserves this surprise for this Sunday. I want to see him take a ball in touch and show he has jump. Answer, also amused, of "Basta": "He is teasing. I would have liked him to make the shots … which are not always straight, but it will improve with age (Guirado is 33 years old). "
The story may not be over. A return to Lyon? "This is not relevant," says Basta. "He has a lot of experience at the high level. He knows how to handle difficult times. He always gave me little advice when we were in trouble without showing it to others, continues the captain, Couilloud. We will miss him. He leaves us, it's a pity for us, but I think he leaves us to come back … "To follow, then.