Author of a remarkable debut and voted best player in the Top 14 last season, the English third-line intends to shine again this season at the MHR before joining Gloucester.
Monday, a rare thing, several British journalists had made the trip to the Night of Rugby which was held at the Olympia. To attend the coronation of their compatriot Zach Mercer, crowned best player of the last season of the Top 14 and key element of the MHR which won, last June, the first title of champion of France in its history. A logical reward as the English third-row flew over the last exercise. “Winning the Brennus Shield with Montpellier at the Stade de France was an unforgettable experiencehe confided. And I’m happy and proud to see the recognition given to me by the Top 14 players and the French public.»
But the former Bath player does not intend to stop there. Even less rest on its laurels. “The Top 14 is an extremely tough championship, certainly one of the toughest in the world. It’s a real marathon, but I really enjoyed it last season. I hope that the current season will offer me just as many emotions.»
This Sunday, the MHR welcomes Stade Toulousain for a clash between the two teams at the top of the Top 14, tied on points (14) before this 5th day. A life-size test for the reigning French champion. “If we did as well as last season, it would already be wonderful, Mercer continues. We are currently well placed in the league but the season is very long and so much can still happen until the end of the current financial year.
Leaving on a new burst. Zach Mercer only stayed two seasons in the Hérault. Arrived in the greatest anonymity, he quickly made a name for himself at the MHR and the echo of his leading performances quickly crossed the Channel. Next year, he will join Gloucester, with one idea in mind:I want to give myself every chance of playing in the next World Cup in France. And for that, I had to come back home. I feel ready to return to England.»
Before thinking of a return to the XV of the Rose (he has two selections against the Springboks and the Japanese in November 2018), Zack Mercer will be able to highlight this fall with the Barbarians. He was indeed summoned by Ronan O’Gara (La Rochelle) and Scott Robertson (Crusaders), named at the head of the prestigious team, to challenge the All Blacks XV, the second New Zealand team, on November 13 in the Tottenham Hotspurs stadium.
Selected among the Barbarians
“I can’t wait to put on this famous jersey in November. Playing for the Barbarians is something you dream of as a player. Evolve with legendary players and coaches, it makes you want. And we make friendships for life, advance Mercer. I have already crossed paths with (Ronan) O’Gara in Top 14, he is a world class coach. Being part of a team led by him and Scott Robertson is going to be an amazing experience. I’m sure I’ll learn a lot from them and the whole group of players they bring together, on and off the pitch.”
An opportunity to shine and score points with Eddie Jones, the England coach who shunned him for a long time. But Zach Mercer does not want to skip the steps: “Coming back to England will be an exciting new challenge but before that, I want to give everything for Montpellier, this club to which I owe a lot.”