RCT – MHR: when former Toulonnais converted from Montpellier find Félix-Mayol

RCT – MHR: when former Toulonnais converted from Montpellier find Félix-Mayol

Bernard Laporte et Patrice Collazo connaissent bien la maison toulonnaise. Midi Libre – JEAN-MICHEL MART

As we approach Toulon-MHR this Saturday, March 23, focus on the former RCT players who have recently become Montpellier residents.

In the bowels of Montpellier, there are red and black DNA. This season, it’s as if a pinch of RCT sprinkled the daily life of the MHR. Via his sports director, already, Bernard Laporte. The small round glasses of the former coach of the XV of France embody the face of glorious Toulon. They were able to manage a team of galactics (Wilkinson, Giteau, Habana, Botha, Hayman…) to march through Europe three seasons in a row (2013, 2014, 2015).

"What we did was fabulous, we walked on water. With extraordinary players and guys. I still have messages from them ten years later and half call me "dad"", assured this week&nbsp ;in Var Matin Bernard Laporte.

For the first time since 2016 and his departure from La Rade, the former president of the French Rugby Federation finds Félix-Mayol with the cap of another club on his head.

Collazo finds Mayol

Same for Patrice Collazo. The native of Seyne-Sur-Mer has not returned to the Toulouse enclosure since his ouster from his position as manager of the RCT in October 2021. The imprint left by the current manager of Montpellier is not as exciting in the hearts of Toulonnais as that left by Laporte. Contacted by former president Mourad Boudjellal in 2018 to bring stability to the club, the former pillar did not find the same success as at La. ;Rochelle. The only season where mayonnaise seemed to take off was the one stopped by Covid-19 in 2020.

Also read: "There is zero worry" : Patrice Collazo speaks about his reunion with Louis Carbonel at the MHR

The adventure ended under a backdrop of tension with part of the locker room in the fall of 2021, despite the support of new president Bernard Lemaître. His  relationship with Louis Carbonel, the "Prince of the Harbor", would have been at the heart of the malaise. Many Toulon supporters consider that Collazo is partly responsible for the departure of their favorite. The madness of the Top 14 wanted the two men to be reunited again in Montpellier.

A reunion which raised questions. Today, it’s difficult to say the state of their relationship. "I’was very surprised by his arrival, Carbonel conceded a few weeks ago. I'm trying to put all that aside." Paradoxically, the opener has never been so performing well since his arrival in the summer of 2022. Internally, we assure that he will complete his contract, in June 2025, despite desires to leave.

What's the point of me saying if it does anything to me or not ?

The reception of the two men by Félix-Mayol this Saturday will be closely scrutinized. Asked about his state of mind as a return to Toulon approaches, Patrice Collazo remained measured. No word is higher than the other. As if he knew that the slightest word could resonate like a breath on the embers to reignite the Toulon flame, less imposing in recent times.

"If you integrate your personal case into your speech to the players, preparing for a match  may be distorted. What's the point of me saying whether it does anything to me or not? The only advantage I have is that I know the context of a match in Toulon. quot;, the Montpellier manager simply declared.

Mid-February, in a climate of confusion, a new Toulonnais came to strengthen the MHR workforce: Christopher Tolofua. The 30-year-old hooker landed in Hérault in exchange for Italian fly-half Paolo Garbisi to everyone's surprise. The sporting emergency took precedence.

Also read: "I quickly understood that I didn't have much choice" : Paolo Garbisi talks about his departure from Montpellier and returns to the Tournament

To the list of Red and Black converted from Hérault, can be added the versatile Fijian Masivesi Dakuwaqa (2019-2021) or the team manager Justine Benoit (2013-2023). Perhaps an advantage before Saturday's confrontation. Maybe not.

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