Highlighting young players, relations with the XV of France, the presidency promised to Laurent Travers…: the president of Racing 92 takes stock for the Figaro.
Le Figaro. On the rugby side, what is your assessment of 2020 for Racing?
Jacky Lorenzetti: Before the Top 14 was stopped at the 17e day, we were third. It’s rather good. We were vice-European champions a few weeks ago. Even if that means that we have lost … We are three times vice-European champions, in itself that’s very honorable, but we lost. There is a disappointment, a frustration, we thought this time would be the right one. We had no absentees but we were our best opponent. Mentally, we did not do what was necessary to be up to the fight.
Your team nevertheless seems to have evacuated this disillusion well …
We digested well, proof that we have reached a certain maturity. We are still hungry in the European Cup. Against Connacht, we had shown a little lightness in the second half. We have to rediscover this desire and this will, I won’t say bestial, but natural.
“I do my mea culpa: at one time, to get to the top more quickly, I hired a lot of foreigners”
Racing 92 is one of the clubs that aligns the most JIFF (players from training courses). Is this a source of pride for you?
It is a double pride. That means that the training strategy around young people has paid off. We have invested a lot in our training center. It is a beautiful tool, which is effective. We have almost 21 young people on average per match sheet in the league. We have 14 players directly from the training center who play with the pro team. The second satisfaction is that these young people are called up to the France team. The LNR wanted to focus on training and it pays today. I do my mea culpa: at one time, to get to the top more quickly, we hired a lot of foreigners. I have nothing against them, but it takes the place of French players. This JIFF system brought the French team back to the forefront.
Where are you in the negotiations with the FFR concerning the provision of 42 players for the Tournament?
Nowhere … There were supposed to be meetings offered by the League, we did not get a response from the Fed. We suppose that they are happy with 31 players and the old convention since if nothing happens, we will stay on that.
Would you be ready to make concessions for the XV of France?
We have already made a lot of concessions. During the fall, about sixty players were called up. As the 30 players could not play more than three matches, we took more. We have recovered from the wounded … We have already given a lot. But we are ready to discuss. After that, will it be 30, 35, 40 players? We need to get around the table to discuss it.
Does Racing benefit from the good results of the XV of France which is the showcase of French rugby?
Of course. We must not confuse the human-to-human relationship between the LNR and the FFR, and the relationship between the Top 14 and the France team. The Top 14, we are the first supporters of the XV of France. It is a source of pride that our players play for the French team. We have a positive impact, since it creates enthusiasm among our supporters.
“One can imagine a supervisory board where I will be chairman and a management board of which Laurent Travers would be chairman“
You recently confided that you imagine Laurent Travers, your manager, succeeding you as President of Racing …
Already, I am very young, I am 22 years old (72 years in fact, Editor’s note) (Laughs). For the past ten years or so, I have got along very well with Laurent Travers. It goes beyond simple sporting status. He knows how to count, he was a bank manager at Crédit Agricole. He knows what a balance sheet is. He is reasonable, he is not a coach who forces the expenses. He has an outstanding human resources management, he is also interested in the structure of Racing, not only the pro team but also the rugby school and the training center. It is complete, we get along well. So not immediately, there is still a little time. Illness made me hungry again. But if it turns out like this in a few years, I’ll be very happy yes.
What role would you keep within Racing?
One can imagine a supervisory board where I will be chairman and a management board of which he will be chairman. Laurent Travers will manage Racing and I will be on the supervisory board to approve the major decisions …