Accustomed to Pro D2 finals and Access Matches in recent seasons, USAP center Mathieu Acebes hopes that the Catalan club will strengthen in the future so that they no longer have to play this kind of match.
Perpignan will play a third consecutive season in the Top 14, which had not happened to them for ten years! By winning the Access Match 19-33 in Grenoble after a great second half, the Catalan club ensured they remained in the top flight. To the great relief of Mathieu Acebes, his emblematic center who arrived in 2016, who hopes to never have to relive this kind of match of fear.
“There are players who spend their entire career playing mid-table, and therefore never know the emotions of the title race or maintenance. When you see it every year, it’s exhausting. We played two Pro D2 finals, two Access Matches. Mentally, it’s tough. The accession roadblock is horrible to tackle, because you can lose everything. This is why the club must grow, that it really get on the train and that we perpetuate it better than that at this level.explained the native of Bayonne at a press conference.
Azéma will begin his adventure in the Top 14
The 35-year-old admitted that his team had had an excellent second half of the season, but that they now had to aim higher, building on the momentum of this maintenance acquired in pain. “It’s a game we should never have played. I sincerely mean it. We left too many points on the way throughout the season and scared ourselves like that… Grenoble deserves our congratulations. We, we still played to be scared. In the future, we must finally manage to raise our level so as not to have to replay this match. (…) It has been an extremely complicated season. We come a long way. Frankly, it’s stratospheric what the team has done. In January, we were eight points behind Brive… But there was a fantastic group in a club that is just as fantastic. It’s the reality: it’s a fantastic, legendary club.”
A club that will start again on new bases next season, with the arrival of Franck Azéma, who will be the new sports manager of USAP, and who is undoubtedly relieved to start the adventure in Top 14 and not in Pro D2.