“Be as cold as possible”, Le Garrec does not ignite despite the praise

Soon to be 20 years old, he will celebrate them next month, Nolann Le Garrec already regularly impresses with his achievements and his maturity in Racing. The young scrum half is a leader at heart. Promised a very great future, possibly called this summer by the staff of the Blues for the tour in Japan, he especially does not want to ignite the Breton. Or copy the style of other numbers 9. After the three derbies won by Stade Français, he trusted RMC Sport for a long time.

Nolann Le Garrec, over the past few months we’ve talked a lot about you and your remarkable achievements. How do you live it?

I try to ignore this media effect and give myself small goals about my game and the evolution of the team. Of course I listen and hear what is being said. It’s fun, but it’s an eternal question. But the mistake would be to ignite and believe whatever is said (Smile). In less good times I know that I will also have to continue to believe in myself and know what I have done.

Do you feel that everything is moving very fast in your young career?

Quick, I don’t know. I always had pretty high goals and I worked towards that. I don’t look back too much. I set goals and try to achieve them.

That ?

Win a title as a club, be it the European Cup or the Top 14. It’s been a long time and we’re working on those moments. We participate in both competitions and it is very exciting. From an individual point of view I want to find my best level, my sensations to be as competitive as possible.

Your precocity is often mentioned, as you had your baccalaureate degree a year in advance while being upgraded in rugby. Do you feel more mature than your age?

It is true that very quickly I had the opportunity to play with the higher categories. You had to be on the field, but also in terms of behaviour. Somehow I had to be mature in my response. Three years ago, I was integrated into the profession early on. It is inevitable that we live things. Sometimes I keep making comments that aren’t appropriate, I’m learning and trying to get the best out of every experience.

And despite your young age, you enjoy being in a leadership role…

Yes it’s true. To build a match I need to have responsibilities, feel like I have work to do. I always liked being captain, having a bit of leadership to my attackers and working with the team. It’s something that excites me and that I enjoy. In life I like to have as many things under control as possible, even if you have to find a good balance. But it’s true that I like to be “in charge” and dictate things a bit instead of waiting.

Despite your young age, is it difficult to find your place by imposing this soul of leader in a group that has much more experience than you?

I try to use everyone to nurture this leadership and my way of doing things. Because each individual has been through a lot and played with great players. If anyone can give me a little detail I can be more complete about my game and the way I behave. I try to be a little better every day. We talk a lot with Maxime (Machenaud) and Teddy (Iribaren) in particular. We all have our own playstyles and we can help each other. I draw a lot of details with them.

“I’m trying to find my way”

In this leader’s register you seem to have a sometimes cold and clinical character, visibly not very sensitive to pressure…

I think it should be as cold as possible. Sometimes it is true that there is pressure, especially from the outside, from the media, also from the club. You have to be clear about your qualities in great achievements but also in failures, but also know how to stay consistent. I try to be as cold as possible to chain the matches.

Who are your role models in your position as number 9?

I’ve seen a lot of Dimitri Yachvili and Morgan Parra, that kind of scrum half, when I was very little, about how they strategically ran a game, and their technical hand-foot precision which was really exceptional. Gradually I opened up a little and looked at what Aaron Smith was doing on the Blacks, TJ Perenara on the support runs. It is inevitable that I watch Antoine Dupont a lot these days. I try to adapt it to my way of playing, to my qualities. It would be a mistake to copy certain people identically.

Does Antoine Dupont’s career leave you dreaming?

Secure. He makes everyone dream. But he went looking for it, he worked a lot. He is rewarded for everything he has done. Me, I will continue to work and I hope that I will also be rewarded for my efforts. But, like I said, I’m not trying to copy a course and I’m trying to follow my path.

Like Smith and those other Number 9s, you like fast passing and movement…

I like to stay with the ball and give a tempo to the game. Our surface in the Paris La Défense Arena allows us to bring rhythm, speed and movement to the teams. I like it. The defense is getting a bit tired and that opens up space for me and my teammates. It is true that I like the game of movement and I am lucky to be well surrounded in this game of initiative.

We can well imagine your impatient stamping after your shoulder injury last November that kept you off the field for four months…

Yes, I was clearly frustrated and excited to be back on the pitch. We look at all training sessions. It was hard to watch the matches because you can see yourself there. But this frustration feeds me with the current competitions as I stayed for four months to rehabilitate and rebuild myself for this end of the season. Now is the time to show that I have energy and things to spare.

“Interviews with the staff of the team France”

For several months, many may have pictured you as one of the new “UFOs” of French rugby, a year after the World Cup. How do you live it?

Today it is a mistake to want to be the UFO at all costs. The UFO is, of course, due to his appearances and his work. I keep working a lot and being the best performing player to be able to claim to be a very good player, but I don’t feel like I’m this UFO, and I don’t want to make mistakes on the pitch and show too much. Sometimes those things have let me down, sometimes taking on too much responsibility and a bit over the top. I’m trying to work today and be confident in my performance and when that happens it will happen on its own. I keep learning and I still need to make progress, especially in my way of functioning within the team, to keep having automatisms with my partners to know them like the back of my hand. It will be the best for the team.

Do you remember the XV of France? Is it in your career plan or a motivation?

Secure. Every player is thinking about the French team right now. She is very efficient. She’s attractive. This is normal because nowadays it consists of very good players. Of course I have it in the back of my mind, but it’s kind of like the UFO, it will come when I perform and if my team is too. I will keep coming.

The staff of the XV of France indicated a few months ago that he was following you. Did you have contacts?

Yes, I did a few interviews with the French team staff to discuss a few points, my game and the future direction of the French team. They told me that they were watching me, that I should not rush, that I would play my rugby and move forward one step at a time. These few exchanges were very interesting. And we saw it with many examples, we saw that it could go fast. Today, the French team is the holy grail for every player. It’s going through club performance and we have a great end of the season to play.

Interview by Jean-François Paturaud