“We want to fight it out and save this season”, Thomas Darmon and the MHR are preparing to face Grenoble in the play-off

“We want to fight it out and save this season”, Thomas Darmon and the MHR are preparing to face Grenoble in the play-off

Battus à Clermont, Thomas Darmon (à gauche) et Christophe Tolofua se concentrent désormais sur le barrage de maintien. MAXPPP – MARQUET Frédéric

Replaced at fly-half during the defeat against Clermont (52-15), Saturday June 8, Thomas Darmon looks back on the team's performance and the preparation for the play-off match against Grenoble, Sunday June 16 (6 p.m.).

Thomas, against Clermont, it was the last match before this play-off, how do you feel, one week before this extremely important match for the club ?

We played on Saturday evening with a reshuffled team, I'm happy for the young players who started, who played their first match, it's part of the evolution of starting young players. I believe that in the state of mind, they responded, they gave everything, everything they could, so that is positive, I will remember that from this match.

Did you watch the Pro D2 final just before your match or did you stay in your bubble?

We didn't see everything, but we watched part of the match. Grenoble is a great team, they don't deserve anything, they play good rugby, we know a little about their profile. They're an ambitious team that's playing hard, so we're expecting a big one.

What do you expect, a week like the previous ones, or a little more pressure?

There is no particular pressure. But we will have to be very precise in training, we know that it will come down to details. Everyone knows the game plan by heart, everyone must know what they have to do, it’s the basis for playing high-stakes matches like that. We're going to focus on ourselves, and do what we need to do to be ready for this match.

Precisely, you have known everything with this club, your training, a title of champion of France, today you are going to play a match to maintain the club in Top 14, how do you feel ?

We know that it’s very important, that there’s going to be a lot at stake. But honestly, we want to be there, we talked a little among ourselves, we don't necessarily feel any negative pressure, we just want to fight it out and be at this match, and to save this season in this match, and all we can think about is that.

Would you like a time machine to find you directly in Grenoble next Sunday ?

Yes, definitely, I think we've known for two weeks that we're going to play the play-off, we've been preparing for it for some time now. It makes you want to speed up time a little, but the staff will do things well, have a good week of training, prepare as best they can. And it's up to us to play at our best, we'll need it.

And focus on yourself too?

Yes, exactly. The game plan is super important, everyone has to know what they're doing, specific things, everyone is going in the same direction, it has to be done well. And if everyone is going in the same direction, we know what our team is capable of. We have already shown in the past that we can do great things, so we will focus on ourselves at first, and obviously also a little on this Grenoble team, which also has some great arguments.

How did it feel to play number 10 again?

It's nice to go back to my beginnings, when I started as a pro. I had to work a lot on the specifics of the position in recent days, especially kicking, penalty kicks, penalty touches, all that… I worked harder than usual to try to be good at all the fundamentals of this position, and it went pretty well. I'm happy overall, even if it was a complicated match, but I found some good feelings, let's say.

You want to prepare for all possible scenarios ?

Of course, I don't know what our team will be next week, but in any case I'll be ready if I have to help out to help the team, of course I'm going to do everything 100% to save this club. We're going to be all out, motivated, and we're all on the same path, so I'm not worried. Thank you.

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