Top 14: "Travers tipped the scales", admits Casadei, new coach of the forwards of Racing


New coach of the forwards of Racing 92, in place of Patricio Noriega, for the next two seasons, Didier Casadei joins his friend Laurent Travers. The now former manager of Périgueux evokes for RMC Sport his long bond with the manager of Ile-de-France.


Didier Casadei, Racing was interested in you two years ago, and you are finally joining the Ile-de-France club this summer. How did it happen?

Two years ago, some parameters were a little different. It hadn’t happened. Then, Laurent (Travers) called me a few days after the semi-final (lost by Racing against La Rochelle in Lille). He told me he wanted me to join their staff for the coming season.

What was his speech?

He told me he was looking for someone to win. When you come to Racing, it’s to aim for titles at the highest level. Our complicity and our similarities made him think of me.


Did you hesitate before accepting?

No, I didn’t hesitate. I have a deep trust and a total friendship towards Laurent. We’ve known each other for so long. We have a lot of similarities on the game before and on the people. It was essential for me. Racing is also a very big historic club which aims for titles. I wanted this adventure.

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Precisely, since when does this complicity with Laurent Travers exist? Since your Brivist years?

Yes, and even before. We are from the same area. My parents were traders in Souillac and he was from Sarlat, about twenty kilometers away. In the summer, we played small tournaments, we played against each other. I was already playing in Agen, he was still in Sarlat. We met in 1995-96 when I signed in Brive. Immediately, we had this bond and we found a lot of hooks on rugby, but also in everyday life.


“If it hadn’t been for Laurent Travers, I would have stayed in Périgueux”

Do your visions of rugby look the same?

Yes, when we were coaches, we called each other regularly. Laurent is also a fan of conquest and touch. We have a lot of similarities.

To find a bench of Top 14 must be so pleasant?

Yes, but I also liked Périgueux a lot. I was the manager of a project, certainly smaller but also very motivating, with a staff and players that I had chosen from a club where I liked and I had been very well received. I was not in an absolute quest to return to the highest level. If it hadn’t been for Laurent Travers, I would have stayed in Périgueux. He really tipped the scales. It’s a very difficult job, the bond between people is essential.

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You will have an expected role knowing that Racing has been jostled in conquest, in particular during the defeat against La Rochelle …

Yes, this match was difficult but the one against Stade Français a week earlier had been very good. The matches follow each other and the content is unfortunately not alike. Even though I know them well, I will get a better idea of ​​the players when I am there. The first thing I have to do is first to integrate well into the club and into the staff.


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