Women’s Rugby. Toulouse Stadium. Laure Bourdon Sansus coach: “It wasn’t the plan!”

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Named the 2022 6 Nations Player of the Year after a sparkling campaign, Laura SansousFrom now Laura Burdon Sansous, surprised everyone by announcing his retirement at the end of the year. Since then she has become Stade Toulousein Elite 1 team coach.

To (re)clarify who Laura Bourdon Sansous is, Hugo Mola said of her before the player retired: “ Laura is the feminine Antoine Dupont. She brings out all her talent in blues performances. ” Just that.

2022 6 Nations Player of the Year, 2022 France Rugby Night Eighteenth Player of the Year, selected by World Rugby in its World XV for 2021 and 2022. And presto, stop!

Retirement – a carefully considered decision by Laure Bourdon Sansus

Choosing your retirement isn’t for everyone, and Laura Bourdon Sansous had that privilege, albeit somewhat curtailed by injury at the 2022 World Cup. She wanted to leave at the top, not to mention fame.

“I didn’t like it that much anymore and I thought I had done the trick, so I wanted to see something else. The fact that I had a really good year in 2022 even helped make the decision. Maybe I had reached the peak of my abilities. A year later, I have no regrets. I took this decision very calmly and quickly moved on to the next step,” says the former Bleues number 9.

Therefore, it is self-evident, since “the end was planned”, that the post-career was long prepared with a thorough and concrete rebuilding project. Not particularly!

Training at Stade Toulouse was not planned at all

If there’s one thing that Stade Toulouse is very good at, it’s using their in-house resources and skills to promote former home players and now former players in different formations. Even those who didn’t particularly want to train.

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Training was not in the plan at all when I decided to stop playing. I had a job in a club far from an athlete. We are in the process of building our own house, I wanted to have time for myself, to enjoy family and friends without the restrictions of rugby. The decision to become a coach was made thanks to Olivier Marin, the team manager, who, with his big nails, I saw him coming from afar, began to offer me activities as a speaker, about skills, support, video analysis,” remembers Laura Burdon Sansous. .

Who made the decision? A chance to develop with your friend Selina Ferrer on the first joint experience: “Olivier offered to train me and I was not at all supportive, then he offered me to train with Céline. Neither she nor I had any experience, but the opportunity was crazy, we couldn’t pass it up and were happy to try the adventure together. »

Three wins in three matches with Stade Toulousein

The least we can say is that everything is going well so far. With the learning process one, Laura Bourdon Sansous and Celine Ferrer are doing well at the front of the Stade Toulousein Élite 1.

“Before, I arrived a quarter of an hour before training, put on my shoes and left at the end! Now I arrive two or three hours before, we anticipate, we prepare. Everything has to be planned all the time, both sports and extra-sport, travel, weather, and composition… These are new things for us, we didn’t expect such a significant load on the sidelines,” she notes. all the same.

France XV and Stade Toulousain player Laura Bourdon Sansous retired as a player in 2022 and is now the Stade Toulousain Elite 1 coach. (©Icon Sports)

Especially since, on a special occasion, she is now coaching what was her rival for the scrum-half position, both at club level and with the France XV, and who has been her wife since August. A factor that could have distracted her from making decisions.

“I’ve never had too many doubts because it can get confrontational, but we’ve always started for club and national team and it’s always gone really well. We’ve always worked on good terms. Polina was there for the first two cup games this season (before leaving for the women’s XV, editor’s note) and we don’t talk about rugby when we get home. Plus she’s developing to the point where she’s undisputed at the club and I won’t be accused of favouritism. Had she been in the middle of the squad I don’t know if I would have committed… today there is a consensus, she has a handle on the position and that suits me well,” explains the new coach.

A woman coaches a men’s team, why not?

Finally, we feel that Laure Bourdon Sansus has settled into her new role, and that’s all the better. The results are in, and once again it seems that the regulation proposed by the club is conducive to positive development.

“We also have cooperation with the professional staff, who open the door for us, we exchange, Selina plays with them, I present them with our project of the game. Coincidentally, they study with us, because women’s rugby is a practice that they do not know, and we are learning from their huge experience. The club is not closed to it, Stade Toulousein is a pioneer who likes to innovate. We will see how far it goes, but in any case the club is behind,” says the former number 9.

It seems only natural that women, whether they were players or not, should finally take the reins of women’s rugby. From there, to go further… why not?

Being a woman coaching women wasn’t a factor, I didn’t pretend to be the standard bearer. But that’s a good thing, it’s a first step. Next, I hope to someday see a woman training at the high level of men. Works the other way around, I see no reason why it wouldn’t work both ways. We’re not there yet. I brought this up when I was offered the position, if I’m considered to have the skills, I could also be among the expectations, e.g. I asked if that was clear and was told “skills matter”. So we can consider that the door is not closed!

Laura Burdon SansousToulouse Stadium coach

Appetite comes from eating, it seems. And it looks like Laure Bourdon’s Sansus is still hungry.

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Georgie Collins

"Falls down a lot. Writer. Passionate alcohol maven. Future teen idol. Hardcore music practitioner. Food fanatic. Devoted travel fan."