Sarlat and its old medieval quarter where he likes to stroll, his truffle festival where he sometimes goes to please the taste buds… Laurent Travers could talk for hours about his native land of Périgord, which he cherishes so much. To the point of having kept a second home there because “it’s well-being from all points of view, my ties are there, my two sisters and my brother still live there. “
In Sarlat, as in Racing, the manager, who is playing this Saturday (5.45 p.m.) in a third European Cup final against the English club Exeter in Bristol, is still called Toto. The nickname his uncle Fernand had found for him “because I had a tendency to make everyone laugh by my nonsense when I was young. “He is also considered as an example of success,” the living proof that anyone can achieve it with work and perseverance, when we give ourselves the means “, as his wife Christelle, whom he met, said. at Pré-de-Cordy high school in… Sarlat.
He managed twelve branches of Crédit Agricole
Nothing was written in advance, as obvious, for this son of a craftsman carpenter carpenter roofer and a municipal employee who will celebrate his 52 years next Wednesday. Thirty years ago, he combined rugby as a player in Brive and professional life in the banking world, to the point of leading twelve branches of Crédit Agricole. “He made two round trips a day, with three quarters of an hour’s drive each time from Sarlat, I remember his mini-naps after the morning training in his car before going back to work, confides Didier Casadéi , his former teammate and friend. In 1995-1996, Toto was a replacement hooker, behind Moscato. He was surely disappointed at times, could have said to himself: come on, I’m putting rugby aside. Some would have given up in his place but he never balked, shut his mouth, and the wheel turned in his favor. He became European champion in 1997 (Editor’s note: as a holder against the English Leicester). »
Three years later, the Périgord put an end to his career, and decided to invest 100% in the oval, becoming coach of the Brivist hopes. “Rugby, which I started at 5 years old, has been running through my veins all the time. I really blossomed in the banking sector but my passion took over, and I took the plunge, knowing that I had always had this conviction to want to coach. I had also passed my diplomas when I was a player, ”explains the one who will quickly experience his heyday.
After Clermont (2001-2003), he formed a winning pair with Laurent Labit in Montauban (Pro D2 champion in 2006), Castres (Top 14 champion in 2013) then in Racing by winning the Brennus Shield in 2016, three years after his arrival. On Saturday, Laurent Travers, alone at the helm of Ciel et Blanc after the bitter departure of his sidekick Labit for the XV of France in 2019, could become the first French to win the European Cup as a player and coach.
“He did not think he would achieve all this path, he still marvels at it”
“The most important thing is that the club can be European champion, he cuts. When you get something, it’s never alone. My success is not only mine but that of all those who have always supported me: my friends, my family, my wife who has always been present even in difficult times. She made the choice to stop working in order to be able to support me in my professional career. But for Christelle, 51, employee of an insurance company until 2009, it is ancient history. “I got used to it very well, it was a comfort for the whole family,” smiles the one who married Laurent in 2016, after… 25 years of living together.
“We thought it was good that our children (Carla and Max, 24 and 21 years old today) bring us alliances, that they can live this union because we have built with them”, specifies the latter who establishes sharing as a fundamental principle. “He is a generous, unifying, demanding but fair person in all sincerity, he would tend to get carried away quite quickly but regrets immediately,” continues Christelle. From the start, he didn’t think he’d come this far, he still marvels at it… “” Laurent works from morning to night for rugby, he is able to watch several matches at home, even for Pro D 2, slips Didier Casadei. It is also humility, questioning, ambition … And I speak to you with the greatest honesty. He never stepped on anyone either, he was done by the force of the wrist! “