American Nissan-Colombiers won the Challenge Occitanie R3 last Sunday after a penalty shootout at the siren.
10:30 pm, in Nissan-lez-Enserune, last Sunday. There are hundreds of them gathered in the village square and in the distance, a bright and agitated procession is approaching. A tractor, a trailer, shields and 25 players ready to talk to their loved ones in a loud voice, the title won at the end of doubt in a match that was not easy, like the American season. Nissan-Colombiers.
“After Covid, we found ourselves not even having 10says Yoan Portes, soon to be 38 years old, who has been playing at the club since 2004. We went to ABB, a neighboring club, so we wouldn’t get lost, and this season we relaunched the club in Nissan-Colombiers.” After a quiet season, USNC could find its colors, blue and purple, in the Region 3 championship.
“A lot of players have taken over, there have also been a lot of young people who have discovered a high level”, he welcomes the captain. Returns, like that of Kilian Maurat, scrum half, the son of the club, who left the area for studies and professional life, and who, returned to the area to start his physio practice, decided to restore the license, in education. where his father and grandfather also emerged.
All season long, the number 9 and his teammates have struggled to qualify. “We were neck and neck with Bessan for a while, but it came down to the end, maybe we paid for a lot of our injuries this season.”he explains.
Nissano-Columbians were relegated to Challenge Occitanie, a type of consolation, and thus did not qualify for the final. “A shield is still a shield”, open the 30-year-old scrum-half. It’s hard to argue with it when you look at the path strewn with traps taken by the suburbs of Biterrois. Easy winners of Beaucaire/Tarascon (40-3) in the round of 16, USNC players had more difficulty against La Grande-Motte then (11-9), before playing in the quarter-finals against Gondrin ( 52-17 ).
In the semi-finals and final, Yoan Portes and his teammates faced a similar situation, with the thrill of qualifying at the end of suspense.
Twice, Kilian Maurat, with the ball on the tie, looking towards the post, made a decision.
“In the semi-final, I was mentally ready to hit that crucial shot, I was just saying to myself, ‘if we score tries, I will convert'”. he remembers the scorer, and success against the Catalans of Haut Vallespir (20-19).
“It’s the best way to get a rank”
“In the final, it was different, we were undisciplined, nothing was happening, until the ball was released by Yoan Portes and Éric Laussedat, which gave me the chance to score.”says “Kiki” of USNC, who still makes a difference, facing the wind, to grab the victory against Panjas (19-17).
“It’s the best way to get a rank”excited his right pole and the captain.
It is a very difficult time to celebrate the title, that it is already important to return to the fight, in the Challenge de France, with the reception this Sunday of Massiac, club cantalien.
“The coaches will have to find the right words to encourage us again, but we trust them for that”, concludes Maurat, still his appetite.
“No, no, the USNC is not dead”and may continue its journey a little further through France…