France-South Africa: "I cross my fingers for my son," says Camille Lopez's mother

France-South Africa: "I cross my fingers for my son," says Camille Lopez's mother

This Saturday night, she will be in front of his television in his house Chéraute, a small village near Mauleon, on the borders of the Basque Country. And she will be afraid. Like a mom. Marianne Lopez, the mother of Camille (29), the opener of Clermont and the XV of France who faces the Springboks at the Stade de France, so proud of the return of his son in the blue jersey, trembles since his accident (open fracture of the left malleolus on October 21, 2017, during a match of European Cup), which she attended live in front of her screen.

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A recently retired nurse's aide, she has confided to us her mixed hopes of apprehension and her vision of a sport in which traumas are more and more numerous.

Marianne and Christian Lopez, parents of Camille. DR

How do you feel when your son returns to the Blues?

MARIANNE LOPEZ. I am proud, of course. I measure the distance traveled since his injury. He really worked hard to come back. I'm anxious too because Camille wants to play so much in the next World Cup (Ed .: September 20 to November 2, 2019 in Japan). He had not been selected for the previous one in England, he had lived it badly and so did we. And then, of course, I'm afraid now.

Because of his injury?

Yes. He suffered a lot. We went regularly to Clermont with my husband to see him. It was hard. He had never felt such pain before. He had a broken cruciate ligament when he was in Perpignan (Note: during the 2013-2014 season), but it had nothing to do with it.

Do you remember his accident?

I was watching TV when it happened. I heard him scream. I did not hold. I came out of the house. I was very bad. My daughter-in-law Marina quickly gave me news before he was evacuated to Clermont Hospital. Afterwards, I told myself that I would never be able to watch a game again. And, finally, I start again. I know it's his job. Besides, he keeps telling me.

Do you often talk to him?

No. He does not want. He tells me he knows what I think. I answer him that he will see when his two boys, who are 3 and 4 years old, will play rugby. They are already with a ball in their hands.

You have always known that, with a husband and two sons rugby players …

Yes. But I have the impression that before that was not the same. The contacts are more and more violent. I attended the final of the Top 14 between Clermont and Toulon at the Stade de France (Editor's note: in 2017) and, from my seat, I heard the shocks, despite the noise of the 80,000 spectators. It was terrible, crazy. These shoulders thrown forward on the thorax. These high tackings. I had never known that. Rugby has changed.

Is the proliferation of concussions worrying for you?

Yes. I can still see this young winger of Clermont rescued on the lawn of Racing (Editor's note: Samuel Ezeala came out on a knockout at a Top 14 match at Paris-la-Défense Arena on January 7, 2018)between white sheets. It froze me. I thought about parents. It's traumatic. Of course we transpose. There was also the death of this young(Editor's note: Louis Fajfrowski, Aurillac player, died of a heart attack following a chest injury after a tackle during a warm-up match last August). I understand that it scares the moms whose kids want to play rugby.

What does your husband, former back and educator at the Mauléon club think?

He tells me that's how it is, that there have always been injuries in this sport. But he recognizes that there is a problem, because the school of Mauléon rugby has lost licensees. She welcomes 100 kids this year against 130 the previous season. Me, I watch a lot of games and I think it's hard, more and more. So I cross my fingers for Camille.

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