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“We are playing our survival”, warns Agen hooker Loris Zarantonello

On the occasion of the derby against Montauban this Thursday at 8:45 p.m., the young player of the SUA, returns for Le Figaro on the current situation of the club and the importance of a victory.

Last in the Pro D2 championship with 9 points (and only one victory) on the clock, SU Agen receives a team from US Montauban in good shape, which is in 4th place with 30 units. Loris Zarantonello, hooker of SU Agen, confides in Figaro on the current situation in his club and returns the black series of 34 consecutive defeats finally stopped two weeks ago against Aurillac.

Le Figaro. For three weeks, Régis Sonnes is no longer the manager of the SUA; David Ortiz and Sylvain Mirande have been confirmed by your president. How is the adaptation going?
Loris Zarantonello: We are a high level player so we must know how to manage, adapt. This is not trivial, but it is a situation that we experienced last year. We were ready for this situation. This should not have an impact on our preparation as a player. That’s all I can say about it. The most important thing is to save the club..

You put an end to a series of 34 consecutive defeats against Aurillac (25-21 on October 22). How do we feel after this victory?
You always feel better after a victory because, the following week, you prepare for it differently, with 100% morale. And then it’s always nice to find the taste of victory. We are a high level athlete, so we need victories to progress and be in the continuity of the result.

The victory in Carcassonne last weekend was very close. What should be remembered from this last outing a few hours before the derby against Montauban?
There is something positive even if everything was not perfect. It was an away game and, today, we have to move on, disregard this match to better prepare the reception of Montauban. It is imperative to make up for it at home against a big team well deserving of its place in the top 6. We must give the best of ourselves to quickly bounce back and give ourselves some air in the standings.

What type of match are you expecting this Thursday night against the 4th?
We expect a very rough meeting. We’ll have to put in the barbed wire because it’s a very dense team. Montauban is a playful team with good recruitment done in the offseason. This allows them to be at the top of the ranking. We will have to put in all the ingredients to win and not get trapped.

Will discipline be an even more crucial point in this derby?
Yes, because it’s a derby that will be played out on details. They have Jérôme Bosviel (Montauban opener) who has made a very good start to the season and who scores almost all the time (12.4 pts / game on average since the start of the season). It’s an added bonus in matches like this. We must therefore be rigorous and disciplined.

You were trained in Montauban from 2011 to 2019 before joining SU Agen. Is it a derby that will have a special flavor for you with this reunion?
It’s a match that is close to my heart because it makes me happy to find my former club to whom I owe a lot today. It is a club that I would always like because I am from Montauban. They deserve to be where they are today. I had the chance to be coached by Jérôme Bosviel in the youth and junior categories, so it’s nice to find the one I spent with during my Montalbanese classes. Afterwards, it’s always motivating to find your old club. I will do my best to ensure that we go and seek victory.

“The public has always been by our side, even in difficult times. For two years, the supporters have not let go ”

Loris zarantonello

Is it a match that can start a new dynamic before a fortnight’s rest?
It is a match which, countably, is decisive for us for the rest of the championship. We play our survival, the survival of the club. We have to win because Montauban comes with intentions to be able to enter the top 3. The ambitions are clear on both sides: namely to win. We must therefore put the necessary desire to emerge victorious.

During these long difficult months, the Agen supporters have always responded …
The public has always been by our side, even in difficult times. For two years, the supporters have not let go of us. At the end of the meeting with Aurillac, it was a special moment, with this communion following our success. We will do everything to ensure that the same thing happens again against Montauban. Despite the defeat in Carcassonne, their trip touched us. I thank them again for coming. I know that they will be present this Thursday evening for the derby and that they will want to win the “public war” at all costs …

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