Back to his best level, the second line of Racing looks back on the dantesque clash against the South Africans at the Stade Vélodrome.
This game against the Springboks was particularly involved with a lot of shocks and injuries…
Cameron Woki: We knew it was going to be a committed match, we had prepared for it. The South Africans wanted to challenge us physically. We know their game: a straight, physical game. We had to respond. What we said to each other during the week was that we shouldn’t respect our bodies. That it was necessary to put a 100% commitment. We lost some men today (Saturday) who committed and did not cheat. They kept their word. But it’s sad to lose Thibaud (flamingo) who suffered a concussion and Jo who suffered a fracture below the eye. But they kept their word and made their match.
Do we take pleasure in this kind of big fight?
Yes, we take pleasure, especially when there is suspense, when we are afraid. We go from a game where we are led to a game where we lead. There are lots of different scenarios in this game. We take a lot of pleasure especially when we win at the end against the world champion team three years ago. (…) We had monsters in front of us. Physically, it was very hard and very dense. I have never experienced such intensity. There were excesses of intensity on the part of both sides. It was a bit of a war on the pitch.
Did you imagine all these scenarios?
Yes, we work on these scenarios every week. Like these last two minutes where you lead, where you have to keep the ball … There are also these scenarios where you are led, where you have to score. These are exercises that help us a lot and that we find on the pitch.
We feel that this XV of France never doubts…
It is true that we have very few moments of doubt. We have times when we are a little inside, like at the end of the first half or at the start of the second, these are air pockets that need to be corrected. But at no time do we stress. We are sure of our strength, sure of being able to do something. We were expected in the conquest sector, that was where we had the most questions. But we responded present in touch and scrum. We were confident and satisfied.
“We just want to be ready for the World Cup. Ready to be able to win it”
You have beaten all the big world nations now. In terms of trust, what does this represent?
We are now familiar with international matches. We are slowly preparing for the World Cup. There is this match against Japan and then the Six Nations Tournament which will happen. During this tour, we faced teams that we do not play often. But we know that Ireland and England in the Tournament are solid teams. We will also measure ourselves against them.
You are on a streak of twelve straight wins. Is getting to the World Cup without having lost a goal?
I don’t think that’s a goal. Even if our objective is to win all the matches. We just want to arrive ready for the World Cup. Ready to win it. If we have to win all the matches to get there, we will do it. If there are defeats, it will allow us to be better for the World Cup.
On a personal level, we found you at your best level…
I think it was time! (smile) I’m happy to be able to get back to my level, especially in such an important match. I will try to keep the same level.
Have you had moments of doubt?
No I did not doubt. I knew this match was important and that I had to be there. But I was well accompanied by my partner, my family, but above all by the players and the staff. I never lost hope. I know what I am capable of. I just needed a little time and a big game. I just hope that I will maintain this level.
“At the Vélodrome, I have never seen such a special atmosphere”
What did you think of Sekou Macalou’s big performance?
I never doubted Sekou. He is an excellent player who is versatile, who can play everywhere. He showed that with the blue jersey he is efficient. We know Sekou in the league, with the Stade Français, he is in the Top 14. Today, he proved his talent. He is downright a player who runs faster than our three-quarters (smile). He is an exceptional player.
How did the Stade Vélodrome audience push you?
For my part, I have never seen such a special atmosphere. There were even times when we didn’t get along. It was a special match, in a special stadium, with a special atmosphere. It was incredible, the public pushed. But, regardless of the stadiums in which we play, we know that the French public is present and that it is important to us. We know he will push us to the end, as he did on Saturday.
Interview at Stade Vélodrome