“Toulouse, you can’t refuse”, Capuozzo explains his arrival in Ernest-Wallon

Italy international Ange Capuozzo will leave Grenoble this summer for Stade Toulousain, where he has officially signed a contract until 2025. The 23-year-old fullback has chosen to take the plunge and join the reigning French champions for the next three seasons . He explained himself extensively to RMC Sport.

Ange Capuozzo, why did you decide to join Stade Toulousain?

It was an easy decision to make. Firstly, for the clearly sporty aspect that is important to me. I still dream of titles and evolution. It was the best sporting challenge that could be offered to me on the rugby planet. It was clear. From a personal perspective, I’m coming to a point in my life where I need to challenge myself, get out there and get out of my comfort zone. After these three years in Grenoble, it was the right time, at the right age, to see something different and discover a different environment.

Could you have stayed in Grenoble for another season, as your leaders would have liked?

Yes, I could have. It was the wish of the leaders. I have been a big fan of FCG since I was little. The fact that I had spent these three years and had the opportunity to make my mark on the club would also have been a dream. But this opportunity to reach the highest level in the world was even more of a dream. I have to give it a chance. I feel like I’m at the end of a process, my head clear. I feel ready.

Toulouse, can’t you refuse?

Yes, it doesn’t refuse. If you have a passion for rugby and you know the players that make up this team who wouldn’t want to hang out with these guys, who are undoubtedly the best in their position at the moment, to touch balls with them and progress to book? It’s a hobbyist’s dream.

You will first have to earn your place in this team where the competition will be fierce with Melvyn Jaminet and Thomas Ramos in particular…

Secure. It doesn’t scare me in the sense that I’m looking for that too. I knew that by going to these kinds of clubs there would be competition. I assimilated it very well. I am endangering myself, I will have to question myself, work on my personal environment, pay attention to all the little details of my life. It will make me grow. This match doesn’t scare me at all, quite the contrary. I know it will be a very big challenge, but it will also help me move forward.

What was the speech by manager Ugo Mola and the leaders to convince you to sign?

They try to build and perpetuate the structure that is already in place. This is evident from the contract extensions they have made. They are really in a phase of build-up and stabilization for the coming years. For some, we project ourselves into three or four years. These are long contracts in rugby and that’s what makes the project interesting. This stability is reassuring as a player. We tell ourselves that we are embarking on a healthy and serious project. It moved me. Even though I come in search of danger, I also need stability in order to thrive.

Do you already know if you will ever play on the grand piano?

In Grenoble, the last three years at the post of 15 I felt the best and the most free. After that, I always played in other positions during my training and I did that at the FCG if there was a need for it. I’m also preparing for this, it doesn’t scare me and I like to discover competition situations. I’ll know how to take it and I’m preparing for it.

We feel a real maturity in you in your speech and your way of being…

(Smiles) It’s hard to talk about yourself, but childhood was very important to me. Sometimes it was very easy, but sometimes it was much more complicated. The slope was very steep and I benefited from that today. I’d be lying if I said I’m not afraid to leave. I’ve never been out of the house, it will be a new life, a new story. But I know that I will face difficulties, everything will not always be easy. It will take time to adapt and I won’t be playing all the time. But I’ve already experienced it. I don’t know if that’s where my maturity comes from, but it really helped me.

After your good performances with Grenoble but also during the last Tournament with Italy, even more is expected of you with the Toulouse jersey…

Yes it is for sure. For once, we can’t prepare too much for that. Until we are confronted with it, we do not yet know how to react. It was a challenge at the end of the year to manage what was happening next door, with rugby and extra rugby. It wasn’t easy right away. Fortunately, I think I am very well surrounded. In terms of energy, it is an important emotional charge, especially with what happened in the tournament, but also in terms of requirements. But I think I’ll thrive in it because I’m going to a club that’s used to this pressure. The management of people and of this external environment is very good in Toulouse. It reassures me. I also think that a lot can be expected of me to move forward, to stand with my back against the wall. It can only be beneficial.

You must enjoy the idea of ​​playing with Dupont, Ntamack and the others…

Yes of course. I think I’m a player who needs others on the pitch. I’m not going to make differences alone. With my physique, I won’t always break lines. I need to be put in these spaces, but also to guide others to complete the actions. It will be exceptional to play with such players. I evolve in the back triangle where we finish the actions. When I see the game being deployed in Stade Toulousain, you definitely want it.

The coming season promises to be very rich with the Top 14, the European Cup and probably the 2023 World Cup. Are you both excited and a little stressed?

Yes, the word excitement pretty much sums it up. It’s not negative stress. I’m not afraid to go there, I’m not worried. But I feel this excitement. I think about it every day, especially when I know how I’m going to go into my new life and discover the group. When I see the people in Stade Toulousain it doesn’t scare me because they are very good guys. It looks very healthy to me, so it looks like me.

Interview by Jean-François Paturaud