Retro 2023: Vic-en-Bigorre, the standard of Bigourdan rugby

We have come to the end of the 2022-2023 season. All rugby clubs in the Hautes-Pyrénées were eliminated. All ? NO. The stubborn village of Vicquois, which reached the final in the French Region 1 championship, and the USV XV, promoted from Region 2, experienced their second rise in two years and an unforgettable adventure. A journey and promotion that the two coaches, Laurent Barbe and Eric Baron, did not expect. “Laurent and I had just come in during the off-season, we were used to working together but we didn’t know the club other than its history,” recalls backs coach Eric Baron. First of all, we wanted to form a band and have fun, that was the first thing. We haven’t actually set any goals other than maintaining this. Eventually one thing led to another, alchemy was created and it succeeded well. »

Looking back on last season, the Vicquois coach finds traces of a founding change in the life of his group. “There were a few moments last season that shaped us. There is one that comes to my mind directly. It was the first game we won in Montréjeau. Then I brought the players to Barousse. We went to spend the whole evening at my father’s house. Whether it was the first team or the reserve team, the whole group was there and everyone was there.” “That’s what brought the group together, the boys knowing each other.”

“Actually, we did not set a goal other than continuing. Eventually one thing led to another, alchemy was created and it succeeded well.”

The starting point of the adventure that took them to the final of the French championship. Winning the first round of Arudy (19-13), Bigourdans continued to the round of 16 against Magnoac (18-8). Vicquois, the only Hautes-Pyrénées club to make it to the quarter-finals, easily defeated Royan (30-5). This success not only advanced them to the semi-finals but also promoted them to the Federal 3. In the last four games, USV defeated Paris The last match that the “blue-whites” know well, against the Basques from Arcangues-Bassussary in Oloron. Vic-en-Bigorre, who was invited to the tournament organized by Emak Hor in Arcangues on September 10, 2022, spent the next day rafting with his future rival. During the pre-season weekend they spent together, the two teams promised each other, “We will see each other again at the end of the season, in the French championship final.”

Laurent Barbe and Eric Baron, the duo who hold the miracle recipe

His wish came true, but it did little to benefit Vic, who was without his captain Abadie, was suspended for a yellow card at half-time, and lost 13-12, allowing the Basques to lift the first shield in Region 1 history. In the 81st minute, a penalty for Vic was awarded, almost 50 meters out, slightly to the left of the posts, resulting in the left post being protected. There’s nothing to be disappointed about though. “I’m smiling after this match, I can’t be sad yet because I realize how far I’ve come. I may be there tomorrow morning, but it’s really nice what we managed to do and to see all these fans coming to support us,” said forwards coach Laurent Barbe after the final, who trains as a duo with Eric Baron, which is definitely the key to the success of Vicquois. “Pouyastruc’ “When I started coaching, I did a few finals, then Laurent and I did two finals at Rasbastens. One with the team, the other with the reserves. It’s true that we are used to doing some finals together,” laughs Eric Baron, but refuses to reveal the miraculous solution. “The ingredients are known and the recipe is always It’s true that it depends on the environment you’re in and the players you’re coaching. »

Amateur rugby trophies were awarded to Laurent Barbe and Eric Baron./ DDM, Jean-Patrick Lapeyrade
DDM – DDM – JEAN PATRICK LAPEYRADE

It’s a paradise that looks set to continue this season as Vicquois finished third in their group. But as usual, this was not the goal. “We were aiming for nothing other than continuing this year again. Keep Vic in the section he’s supposed to be in. »

All we can do is hope that the road takes them to the final once again.

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