Racing 92: “I lacked humility”, confides President Lorenzetti


Impossible to enjoy the place or the moment. Jacky Lorenzetti was unable to leave for Porto-Vecchio, in Corsica, where he has a house, to join his team which is preparing this week, out of sight and virus, for the European Cup final this Saturday in Bristol in England against Exeter.

The president of Racing 92 stayed at home to manage his affairs, affected by the crisis linked to the pandemic and to lead the fight, with his counterparts in the Top 14 represented by the National League, against the French Federation. The latter has indeed set six dates for the matches of the XV of France this fall, depriving the teams of their internationals for six weeks.

Towards the end of the Federation-League war

“We should end up finding a solution (Editor’s note: an agreement should be reached this Thursday). You don’t need a winner, neither the Federation nor the League. The clubs have made a lot of effort. The convention that binds us concerns the release of our internationals for three games in the fall. Given the context due to the coronavirus crisis, we have agreed to go up to five, but, even though we are supporters of the France team, we cannot lose our best players over too long a period under pain to put us in danger (Editor’s note: the internationals should finally be released for six games against the Welsh on October 24, the Irish on the 31st, then the four matches of the Autumn Nations Cup, with the assurance that no Habs will play them all). “

The impact of health measures

“Financially, it’s very difficult for Racing but it is even more so for Paris-La Défense Arena. The players have agreed to wage efforts, 80% of the employees of the room have been on short-time work since the start of confinement last March. There will be a curfew there. This is not going to help matters. I hear from so many experts who supposedly know it all and, in fact, ignorance prevails. Personally, I would have preferred that we let people who are healthy and in good health live normally and that we only take care of the sick and the fragile. But, hey, there’s no point in complaining. We have to do with the measures that are taken. The luck of the Top 14 is that a lot of clubs are in the hands of business leaders who can hunker down. Otherwise, they would be in great danger. What might help us now is creating a Club World Cup every four years, bringing together the top eight from the Northern Hemisphere and the top eight from the Southern Hemisphere. It would replace the European Cup that season. It would generate significant TV rights. We must strive towards that. “

The trip to Corsica

“The players and the staff went to isolate themselves this week in Corsica in Porto-Vecchio where the health situation is much better. I love this region, we were warmly welcomed there. We privatized a hotel, which closed for two days to disinfect everything, then reopened just for us. We have land and the necessary facilities at our disposal. The group will go from one bubble to another by joining England directly. All players tested negative on Wednesday morning. I also took a test. I await the results. Hope it will be good and that I can make the trip. “

The European Cup final

“I hope it will be the right one. This is our third European final (Editor’s note: defeats in 2016 against Saracens and in 2018 against Leinster). We are the only Top 14 team to have participated in all the finals since we found the elite in 2009. We were champions of France in Barcelona (2016). But I have to admit, when I got to the club, I took it back (Editor’s note: in 2006), I lacked humility. I thought rugby was easier than that and that we would win titles faster. When I look back on the fourteen years that have passed, there have been great moments and others very hard, such as the failed merger with Stade Français. But I am satisfied with what we have built, in terms of structures, of training. There were fourteen players from the club last week against Stade Toulouse. A victory would be the realization of fourteen years of efforts. “

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