ASBH XXL season in Pro D2: and now, what’s next ?

ASBH XXL season in Pro D2: and now, what’s next ?

Winger Raffaele Costa-Storti, top scorer in Pro D2, will no longer be in Béziers next season. Midi Libre – MICHAEL ESDOURRUBAILH

The 2023/2024 financial year of the ASBH is a sporting success. From now on, it is a question of knowing whether the Hérault club will have the means to continue over time.

This statement from Clément Ancely, the Béziers captain, made us smile after the semi-final lost against Vannes (27-21): "Sometimes, in the locker room, we almost wondered: "What are we doing here ?" But at the same time time, we play good rugby. With Dax, we were perhaps not expected at the table of Provence, Grenoble or Vannes."

ASBH players have repeatedly expressed their pride in having achieved such a journey. And even if 99.9% of the Hérault workforce, including staff, has not really thought about the future for 48 hours, we cannot be sure; prevent you from thinking about tomorrow.

Can this club settle at the top of the Pro D2 table and repeat the performances like this season? For the next financial year, the group can count on its essential old hands Samuel Marques (35 years old) ), "Chico" Fernandes (38 years old) and Charly Malié (32 years old). The club also had a nose in extending its nugget back Gabin Lorre (22 years old), again author of a major performance in Vannes.

On the other hand, he lost several of his executives (see elsewhere), including the top scorer in the championship Raffaele Costa Storti (21 tries). Fifteen elements will leave the club. For the moment, eight names have been announced or will soon be announced, like the third line of the MHR, Clément Doumenc.

Looking for a buyer

Then, still in this question of perpetuating the club, there is the financial question. Even if it would have been a good headache for the communities and partners, the ASBH will not play in the Top 14 next season. The urgency to find funds is lifted. On the other hand, finding new resources to keep ambition high seems inevitable. With a budget of 8.5 million euros, Béziers is far from Brive (15 million) and Grenoble (13 million), candidates for promotion each season.

Also read: ASBH in orbit: will financial partners follow ?

The emotions experienced at the end of the season could be a good promotion for the club. "All this will bring us a surplus of partners", assured President Jean-Michel Vidal after the victory in the play-off. An increase in the number of subscribers and box office revenue is hoped for.

"I can't wait for the holidays to end so I can meet up with the guys", launched manager Pierre Caillet on Friday evening. After the euphoria, the Biterrois are also impatient to see the dimension, or not, taken by the club, still owned by the city. The arrival of new entrepreneurs could be a first step.

Things are going to change at ASBH

Departures: Joan Zabala (pillar, Pau); Giorgi Akhaladze (pillar, Clermont); Yanis Boulassel (hooker, Toulon); Clélement Bitz (second line, Montauban); John Madigan (second row, Agen); Pierrick Gunther (third row); Thomas Hoarau (third row); Joaquim Selma (third line, hope); Mitch Short (scrumhalf); Jean-Victor Goillot (scrimmage half); Maxime Espeut, (center, Montauban) ; Paul Alquier (winger); Raffaele Costa Storti (winger, return from loan Stade Français) ; Tim Nanai Williams (center); Watisoni Votu (center).

Extensions : Cisco Fernandes (pillar), Yannick Arroyo (pillar) ; Yvann Lalevée (hooker); Otunuku Pauta (third row);  William Van Bost (third line); Paul Recor (center); Paul Reau (winger); Pierre Courtaud (winger); Gabin Lorre (rear); Charly Malié (opener).

Arrivals: Christian Judge (pillar, Saracens); Cam Dodson (second row, Aurillac); Baptiste Abescat-Leroy (third line, Narbonne); Aminiasi Tuimaba (winger, Pau); Hugo Camacho (back, Bayonne); Clélement Doumenc (third line, Montpellier).

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