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Heineken Champions Cup: Antoine Gibert, at ease in the boss's suit

2023-12-09T21:28:07.327Z

Highlights: Heineken Champions Cup: Antoine Gibert, at ease in the boss's suit. After the departure of Finn Russell, the young fly-half trained in the Hauts-de-Seine has logically established himself as Racing 1's number 92. The 25-year-old has just extended his contract with the club for three more seasons, until 2027. He has made an excellent start to the season, the perfect playmaker for a Racing team that has found a new lease of life since Stuart Lancaster's arrival.


After the departure of Finn Russell, the young fly-half trained in the Hauts-de-Seine has logically established himself as Racing 1's number 92 fly-half.


Last May, Jacky Lorenzetti and Laurent were clear. There is no question of recruiting a "great" number 10 after the departure of Scotsman Finn Russell to Bath. A tradition that has been perpetuated by the Ile-de-France club since its return to the top flight with the signings of Jonathan Sexton (2013-2015), Dan Carter (2015-2018) and Pat Lambie (2017-2019). Not this time.

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We are fortunate to have two youngsters in the 10, Tristan Tedder, who we recruited (from Perpignan), and Antoine Gibert. We want to trust them," they told us, cutting short the rumours of the recruitment of Englishman Marcus Smith. A youthful choice that has paid off at the start of the season: Antoine Gibert has made an excellent start to the season, the perfect playmaker for a Racing team that has found a new lease of life since the arrival of Stuart Lancaster, known for his qualities as a trainer.

"A child of the club proudly carrying the values of Racing 92 with an undeniable passion"

Proof of the confidence he enjoys, the 25-year-old fly-half has just extended his contract in the Hauts-de-Seine for three more seasons, until 2027. Last year, he signed an extension until 2024. "Antoine Gibert is a child of the club who proudly carries the values of Racing 92 with an undeniable passion," said Laurent Travers, who had him under his command for a long time, before becoming president of the club this year. We are confident that he will continue to grow in the sky and white jersey and bring his leadership on the pitch and lead the club to the highest level." Antoine Gibert, after starting rugby at a very young age at AC Boulogne-Billancourt, made all his debut with the Ciel et Blanc, which he joined in 2011 at the age of 14.

Read alsoHeineken Champions Cup: new formula, French chances, forces at play... Everything you need to know about the 2024 edition

And, since the beginning of the season, the Ile-de-France number 10 has shone with his ability to create danger and manage his team's play perfectly. Thanks to his explosive physical qualities - which also allow him to shine at 7, as was the case in the 2020 Superseven won by his club - despite a "light" physique (177 cm for 76 kg), he is able to create gaps at any time. This has already seen him score two tries in the Top 14 this season, after scoring eight last year.

After having gnawed on his brakes for a long time in the shadow of star openers, Antoine Gibert now has the keys to the truck. But his years of apprenticeship have clearly paid him good. Last year, Laurent Travers, still manager of the Ciel et Blanc, praised his progress. "You can see that he's capable of stepping up to the plate. It's good for him because he's maturing, gaining confidence," he said. It's very good for Racing. It shows that the team is not only dependent on Finn Russell, other players have the qualities to do the right thing."

"I almost feel like a leader in this group"

The player - versatile scrum-half or fly-half - nevertheless admits that he is relishing the fact that he is finally the boss of the Parisian attack. "What I didn't want to do was be the eternal replacement," he told Midi Olympique. He added: "With Tristan (Tedder) and Martin (Méliande), we are about the same age. So there's no more number 1, no number 2... We're all on the same page, whereas before, I was clearly number 2 to Rémi Talès, Dan Carter, Pat Lambie, François Trinh-Duc, Finn Russell and so on... I've also gotten older, mature. Today, I almost feel like a leader of this group."

A leadership that will have to be confirmed after this excellent start to the season. It starts this Sunday at Paris La Défense Arena, against the Harlequins of a certain Marcus Smith who could have been his direct competitor in the 92. But, in the end, Antoine Gibert donned - with success and authority - the number 1 fly-half at Racing.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-12-09

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