Winner in Paris and second in Ligue A, how far will Nantes-Rezé go?
First of the regular season?
Always second after his victory in Paris on Friday evening, Nantes-Rezé points to a length of the leader of Ligue A, Tours, which receives Toulouse on Saturday. The Tourangeaux seem better placed and armed, with two more home matches and a more complete team, but the Nantes will come to challenge them at Robert-Grenon next Saturday.
The challenge of first place in the regular season? A direct qualification in the Champions League. Everything is still possible for Argentinian Libero Franco Massimino: “If Tours lose a few points and we win… It’s a dream for us, but the most important thing is to maintain our level. We’re aiming for second place first, then we’ll see. »
If the place in the first four, synonymous with advantage of the field in the play-offs, is acquired for Nantes-Rezé, it is still necessary to take a last look in the rear view mirror, with Chaumont at eight points and three games to play. (against Nice this Saturday), before finally conquering the second. Which can ensure a ticket for the CEV Cup (C2) to the Ligériens according to the combined results of the final of the Coupe de France (Tours-Nice, April 2) and the Championship.
Unthinkable six months ago. “It’s a team, on paper, in the middle of the table, confirms former international Frantz Granvorka, member of the club’s board of directors in charge of the athlete. A good team, but without these pretensions. Something happens in addition, which allows them to play very well on their weak points. They are full of confidence. »
Champion of France ?
It would be a first, but Nantes have no reason to stop there, given their results and the chemistry between the players. “There is a lot of diversity, young-old, foreign-Frenchs, notes the passer Anatole Chaboissant, 20 years old this week and international A ‘. We laugh a lot, we all got along from day one. This is what brings us good team cohesion today. »
Hubert Henno, the coach, lives the dream with his players. “We walk a little on water. We had a little more complicated moment, we had to stick together, but the guys reacted very well and now they know what it’s like to be in the tough. We will have a real test against Tours, which is used to high-stakes matches. »
The problem: the physical. Playing the play-offs, up to ten additional matches, was not planned in the pre-season preparation, and we saw this Friday evening in Paris that the organizations suffered. The next two weeks will be crucial. “We are going to come back to a cycle to give freshness, and after the match in Tourcoing (March 25) we will do another little week where we will push, details Henno. And then we won’t have time. »
In the European Cup?
The Champions League, and more likely the CEV Cup (C2) or the Challenge Cup (C3), can open the door to Nantes-Rezé next season. Who will present a team largely similar to that of today, from the point of view of executives and staff. But will absolutely have to be reinforced to meet the European challenge, its travels and matches in addition. “You need a bench, slice Hubert Henno. There, I play with almost the same ones in every match, and when you play two a week, the guys explode in December. We are working on that. But I want us to capitalize on this season, that it’s not just a little bit of magic, to perpetuate all this energy. »
In a city particularly supplied with elite teams in team sports, men and women, it would be a new spotlight on men’s volleyball, after the attendance records recorded in the Trocardière hall (4562 for the last, on February 17), where the NRMV has resided since the start of the season. “We don’t know yet how far we can go, asks Granvorka. For the moment we say to ourselves that we are having a superb season, with a superb tool, players who want to stay, we will see what that will create. Until the Champions League? We’re going to have to roll up our sleeves because it’s not easy to structure, organize. We still lack people to be able to be serene on this ground. »