Racing 92: after another failure in the European Cup final, what future for Laurent Travers?

There are the images, which loop in the skulls and still hurt so much. Much more than the bruises to the body. Those, neither the nights, nor the ointments, nor even the pills manage to get them through. Sky and white bulldozers smashing against their English opponents from Exeter in an excessive shelling two meters from the goal line… It was Saturday in Bristol, England, there were seven minutes left in this Cup final Europe and Racing, led by one point, held its fate in hand, or rather at the end of its feet. Problem, no Ile-de-France player has ever looked up to see that a small drop of nothing at all would have been enough to win the stars. Result: a huge disillusion (31-27).

There is also this start to the match in reverse, these wanderings of the Iribaren – Russell hinge, this uncertain pass. Finally, there are the words, surprising too. “I hurt my adductors the day before, I should not have played,” admitted the scrum half from Ile-de-France to the Rugbyrama site. And in the columns of the team, President Jacky Lorenzetti invited his manager Laurent Travers and his deputy in charge of three quarters Mike Prendergast to think about the strategy.

The common point of the three setbacks

We are looking for what went wrong. Coaching mistakes? A lack of foresight or authority of the staff? Especially since there are memories. Equally cruel. There had already been the first European final lost against the Saracens in 2016 (21-9), and especially the following one, in 2018 against Leinster (15-12), passed under the noses of the Parisians after a non-match where the tactics had also raised some questions.

The common denominator of these three setbacks? Laurent Travers, at the club since 2013. The coach, it is well known, is always the first person in charge of the failures of his group. Would he therefore be threatened? Or at least weakened? The return to Plessis-Robinson, this Monday, did not let anything filter in this direction. No rants, no stormy explanations. Only the observation that it was necessary to leave and re-motivate an always groggy troop. “At the time, when he is disappointed, the president points to those responsible, but it goes quickly,” admits a relative of Ciel et Blanc. “He will not part with Travers like that,” said another. He trusts her. He will go far with him. “

There remains a question. Why did the Ile-de-France residents persist, as if they were wearing blinders, to the point of ending up losing the ball and the match? “In an experienced team like this, it is the players who are in control of their decisions most of the time, because they are the ones who feel things on the pitch, adds an insider. They were convinced that it was going to pass, that they were going to score at 15 against 14. ”The result proved to them not.

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