High 14 – August 31, 2004: the day ASM fired the final coach of the season

TOP 14 – Jono Gibbes being fired mid-season by ASM Clermont is an earthquake within the Auvergne. The yellow and blue membership has not fired a coach throughout a season for eighteen years. In the summertime of 2004, Alain Hyardet left his put up in a context as sizzling as January 2023, earlier than Olivier Saïsset lastly straightened the helm of the Clermont boat.

The volcanoes have woke up in Auvergne. ASM formalized this Monday, January 16, the dismissal of Jono Gibbes as supervisor of Clermont. The departure of the New Zealand technician was extremely anticipated after Clermont’s heavy loss to Leicester (29-44), however his official announcement closed a wonderful period in ASM historical past. The Jaunards have not actually fired a coach mid-season since August 2004. A profitable interval of eighteen years and 5 months throughout which Clermont skilled its first two Brennus Shields (2010, 2017) and three European Cup finals (2013, 2015, 2017), commissioned by Vern Cotter (2006-2014) and Franck Azéma (2014-2014) 2021).

However earlier than ASM’s heyday, Alain Hyyardet suffered the identical destiny as Jono Gibbes. At the moment, the French championship was referred to as High 16 and the yellow and blue membership Montferrand. After a mediocre 2003-2004 season, Alain Hyyardet and his males started one other train in tough waters. The cup is full for René Fontès, President of the ASM, who has simply taken workplace.

René Fontès, president of Clermont from 2004 to 2013.
Patrick Derewiany / Icon Sport – Patrick Derewiany / Icon Sport

We had a group that was throwing the ball

A break much like that of the New Zealander, however in a very completely different context, is assumed by Alexandre Audebert, the third line from Clermont in 1999-2012. The 2010 French Champion explains particularly the big variations when it comes to manpower and rising professionalism.

“At the moment we had an important group, you need to say (laughs). On a extra severe notice, the membership was sick, however we had a robust group with some worldwide gamers like Olivier Magne, Gérald Merceron, David Bory… However mayonnaise did not come from a rugby standpoint with Alain Hyardet. In comparison with 2023, Jono Gibbes has inherited a very unbalanced group in full restoration. And we should not neglect that we had been on the very starting of professionalism in 2004, the gamers had been maybe much less involved about their private careers than immediately, which is completely logical. I additionally consider Alain had all of the keys to the truck, from the employees to the gamers, and in a manner he was the primary fuse as a result of it did not work.”

Jean-Marc Lhermet took over the leadership of ASM together with Jean-Pierre Laparra from September to October 2004.

Jean-Marc Lhermet took over the management of ASM along with Jean-Pierre Laparra from September to October 2004.
Jean Paul Thomas / Icon Sport – Jean Paul Thomas / Icon Sport

From that second, Jean-Marc Lhermet and Jean-Pierre Laparra needed to take over the reins of the sick group. Alexandre Audebert recollects greater than an uncomfortable interval. “It was crap as a result of we had been ready for Olivier Saïsset to be freed from Perpignan, however there was no extra hesitation as a result of we had been nonetheless in full bodily preparation.”

The fireman Saïsset extinguishes the fireplace

After solely three video games, Alain Hyardet was thus pushed out, opening the door for the inimitable Olivier Saïsset in October 2004. After 4 years on the bench in Perpignan and dropping the ultimate to Stade Français final summer time, the Biterrois have put their hearts on one another’s hearts. suitcases with thick glasses, a cigarette in his mouth and “distinctive banter”.

A firefighter from Catalonia needed to put out the nascent fireplace with an efficient recipe: again to fundamentals and a whole reset. The strategy solely labored three days per week, as Saïsset needed to journey between Clermont and Béziers each week for “private causes”.

Alexandre Audebert, here against Perpignan in 2007.

Alexandre Audebert, right here in opposition to Perpignan in 2007.
Manuel Blondeau / Icon Sport – Manuel Blondeau / Icon Sport

“When Olivier exhibits up, a brand new season begins. His first speech is easy: “what’s behind, what’s behind, now we have now to maneuver ahead with out wanting within the rearview mirror.” It imposes a whole reset of roles, from executives to youth, for many who haven’t had time to play. It was “do it or die” with him. Olivier was very environment friendly and gave a really primary framework to the fundamentals together with his cheeky humor and manner of conveying data. And sometimes that is what works. Dedication struggle, conquer protection, then we see how we play. In truth, he was solely on the membership when the entire group was full, so it did not trigger an excessive amount of bother. Alexandre Audebert remembers.

Again within the lead, Montferrand made a powerful return to the highest 16. The Jaunards completed the 2004–05 monetary 12 months with fourteen wins, seven losses and a draw since taking on from Olivier Saïsset, and completed seventh, which equals European Cup qualification.

An sudden consequence within the fall of 2004 and a whole success for fireman Saïsset, who then left Auvergne and returned to his beloved metropolis of Béziers. Eighteen years later, the previous third line in helmets is hoping for an similar state of affairs for Christophe Urios, Jono Gibbes’ successor. “That is all of the injury I want the membership! Immediately we have now to avoid wasting the furnishings. Earlier than we glance far into the longer term, it’s pressing for gamers to shortly adapt to the brand new kind, even when that they had quite a lot of affection for Jono.” concludes Aubebert.

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