ASBH: “It’s a team different from the others”, a semi-final and Béziers put itself back on the French rugby map

ASBH: “It’s a team different from the others”, a semi-final and Béziers put itself back on the French rugby map

Nkinsi, Malié et les Biterrois ont signé une saison historique. Midi Libre – SYLVIE CAMBON

Forty years after its last Brennus, ASBH returned to the forefront by achieving a historic Pro D2 season with a 3rd place and missing a qualification for the final, by very little, in Vannes (27- 21).

As if to prolong the pleasure of an incredible season. While the press room was overflowing with journalists, at the end of the match, chants coming from the locker rooms, resonated in the bowels of the La Rabine stadium. The sound of fifes is not unknown in Brittany, chants in Occitan, a little more. “Se Canto”, then a song in praise of Pézenas, where several players come from, the Biterrois wanted to end this end of season with a smile on their lips, despite the disappointment of a defeat in the last four.

Read also: ASBH: in Vannes, Béziers never denied its playing principles, but paid dearly for some clumsiness

Because if it fell in the semi-final of Pro D2, in Vannes (27-21), the ASBH version 2023-2024 has put Béziers back on the map of French rugby. Before this season, the legendary club had finished in 9th place for two seasons. Since its rise from Fédérale 1, in 2011, it was more subscribed to the soft underbelly of the championship, being content, during its good seasons, to flirt with the top 6 to only qualify in 2018 (5th). This season, Pierre Caillet and his team have reshuffled the cards with the best regular season in their history in Pro D2 (3rd).

“We have a lucky star, each one. We have eleven on the jersey, explained the manager at the time of the assessment. This club lives for the final stages, we have an extra soul on these matches. And the panache with which we played this semi-final, it is unique."

"A team different from the others"

Béziers has experienced more than one final phase. Between 1971 and 1984, AS Biterroise, the most dominant team in the history of French rugby, but also of French sport, won ten of its eleven Brennus Shields. The legends that are Armand Vaquerin, Jean-Louis Martin, Michel Palmié, Alain Estève, Richard Astre or even Jack Cantoni and Olivier Saisset made their Sauclières stadium, at the time, an impregnable fortress (95 victories of rank between 1969 and 1981).

Also read: Reactions after Vannes-ASBH: "The best didn't win", "we are gypsies", "fucking confident"

Where the protégés of the legendary Raoul-Barrière were used to crushing their opponents in the combat and conquest phases, in 2023-2024, Béziers stood out for its movement and passing game after contact, throughout the season. An atypical style of play which destabilized all their opponents, including Jean-Noel Spitzer, manager of Vannes. "Béziers is a team different from the others. She is capable of playing from afar and it's not a team that has a clear organization… The 9 goes to the left, to the right, that poses a problem for the defense", debriefed the Breton at a press conference after his team's victory.

A great enthusiasm

The Béziers public, renowned for its fervor, responded, by expanding the stands of the Raoul-Barrière stadium, or the buses on the move, a little more each week, seduced by the play of movement advocated by Pierre Caillet. In terms of attendance, Béziers attracted 39% more spectators than last season, on average at home this season (6,286 spectators). A figure which should continue to climb as the Biterrois have "awakened the old demon of Béziers and now we want him to stay", welcomes Pierre Caillet, which takes place for next season.

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