Antoine Gibert, comfortable in the boss’s costume

After the departure of Finn Russell, the young fly-half trained in Hauts-de-Seine logically established himself as the number 1 fly-half of Racing 92.

Last May, Jacky Lorenzetti and Laurent were clear. There is no question of recruiting a “big” number 10 after the departure to Bath of the Scot Finn Russell. A tradition yet perpetuated by the Ile-de-France club since its return to the elite with the signings of Jonathan Sexton (2013-2015), Dan Carter (2015-2018) and Pat Lambie (2017-2019), among others. Not this time.

«We are lucky to have two young people in 10, Tristan Tedder, who we recruited (from Perpignan), and Antoine Gibert. We want to trust them», They told us, cutting short rumors of the recruitment of the Englishman Marcus Smith. A youth choice paying off at the start of the season: Antoine Gibert has had an excellent start to the season, the perfect master of a Racing team which has found a second wind since the arrival of Stuart Lancaster, recognized for his qualities as a trainer.

“A child of the club proudly carrying the values ​​of Racing 92 with undeniable passion”

Proof of the confidence he benefits from, the 25-year-old fly-half has just extended his lease in Hauts-de-Seine for three seasons, until 2027. Already, last year, he had signed an extension until ‘in 2024. “Antoine Gibert is a child of the club proudly carrying the values ​​of Racing 92 with undeniable passion, greeted Laurent Travers, who had him under his command for a long time, before becoming president of the club this year. We are convinced that he will continue to grow with the sky and white jersey and provide his leadership on the pitch and lead the club to the highest level. Antoine Gibert, after starting rugby at a very young age at AC Boulogne-Billancourt, did all his training with Ciel et Blanc, which he joined in 2011 at the age of 14.

And, since the start of the season, the Ile-de-France number 10 has shined with his ability to create danger and perfectly manage his team’s play. Thanks to his explosive physical qualities – which also allow him to shine at 7, as was the case during the 2020 Superseven won by his club – despite a “light” physique (177 cm for 76 kg), he is capable of creating breaches at any time. This has allowed him to already score two tries in the Top 14 this season, after scoring eight last year.

After a long time champing at the bit in the shadow of star openers, Antoine Gibert now has the keys to the truck. But his years of training have clearly been beneficial to him. Last year, Laurent Travers, still manager of Ciel et Blanc, welcomed his progress. “We see that he is capable of responding. It’s good for him because he’s maturing, gaining confidence, did he appreciate. It’s very good for Racing. It shows that the team is not only dependent on Finn Russell, other players have the qualities to do the right thing.”

“I almost feel like a leader of this group”

The person concerned – versatile scrum half or fly half – nevertheless recognizes that he relishes the fact of finally being the boss of the Parisian attack. “What I didn’t want was to be the eternal substitute,” he declared to our colleagues from Olympic Midday . And to add: “With Tristan (Tedder) and Martin (Meliande), we are about the same age. So there is no longer number 1, number 2… We are all on the same page whereas before, I was clearly number 2 to Rémi Talès, Dan Carter, Pat Lambie, François Trinh-Duc, Finn Russell and so on… I have also grown in age, in maturity. Today, I almost feel like a leader of this group.”

Leadership that will need to be confirmed after this excellent start to the season. It begins, this Sunday at Paris La Défense Arena, against the Harlequins of a certain Marcus Smith who could have been his direct competitor in the 92. But, ultimately, Antoine Gibert donned – with success and authority – the costume of opener number 1 in Racing.

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