US Carcassonne XV – Jo Foulquier from the Amicale des Anciens: “We can die from it but we never get over the rugby virus”

He eats, he drinks, he sleeps rugby. So, it is only natural that the direction of the USC asks him to chair the Amicale of the former players. Jo Foulquier, ex-player of the club and figure of Carcassonnais, talks to us about his time, rugby today and the future.

His name is Joseph but everyone calls him Jo. And he cares about it. He is funny, lively and pungent. “If I tell you my age, would I be entitled to a fuel coupon?” At 77, Jo Foulquier is in great shape and “born [se] can’t see getting old “. Second line – and sometimes third center – for USC in the 60s and 70s, this retiree now chairs the very recent Amicale des Anciens of the club. Because rugby is in his skin. Because he knows how to bring together. And of course, because he chatted with people from here. The time of an interview, the Carcassonnais goes back in time, between yesterday’s rugby and today.

I first played basketball

For you, rugby is a religion …

It is saying little. From my earliest childhood, I was immersed in rugby. My father is a former Quillan player. Very young, I was already going to see all his matches. I caught the virus what … We do not die of it but we never get over it. Before the oval ball, I first played basketball. It wasn’t until I was 17-18 that I started rugby. I went to play for 4 years in Béziers. Then I came back to play in Carcassonne in 1966. Started from the third division, in three years, we went up to the national level. It was beautiful. In the meantime, I continued at USA Perpignan before ending my rugby career here at my 32th birthday. USC remains and will remain my club of heart. But everywhere I went I made new friends. I learned the collective, mutual aid, respect … I liked these values ​​and continue to follow me today. I learned that alone we couldn’t get very far. I have so many memories. Much joy but also some sorrows. The disappearances of certain comrades marked me a lot. It hit me hard.

How do you see the evolution of rugby?

In life, everything changes. In rugby, it’s the same thing. The codes have changed. At the level of training already. At the time, we only trained twice a week. Today, players train almost every day. They are professional, that’s normal. Nowadays, medical follow-up is very important. Something that we did not really have my time. We were a bit on our own. It’s not the same at all. Even physically. Today, it’s commonplace to see guys measuring 2 meters for 115 kg. When I was young it was very rare. The game has also evolved. It’s more physical, of course, but less brutal and savage than before. Which is not worse. Arbitration has also changed completely. It has an increasingly central role. In my opinion, there are rules that the uninitiated have a hard time understanding. I even wonder sometimes if the players themselves understand all the decisions of the referee. And then, frankly, there is an abuse of video referee assistance. It is very good but in small doses. Sometimes it feels like a movie. When I was at USC, the furthest away from the team came from Narbonne. Today, players come from all over the world. It is the globalization of rugby. This is not a bad thing, just an observation.

Omelets with porcini mushrooms, maybe that’s the secret …

In 2019, when we picked you up to chair the Amicale, how did you welcome the proposal?

There was no Amicale. We were one of the only Pro D2 clubs that didn’t have one. So the leaders asked me to be the locomotive. I must say that it made me happy. It is a mark of confidence. In one week, I made dozens of phone calls to bring together a few people and the elders immediately joined. I did not expect that. It warmed my heart, it boosted me. Today, we flirt with the 200 members. Former players, people who have helped and been close to USC. Our role is to come together to support the players. Last year we went to support the team in Biarritz. We are in the process of perhaps going to do the same in Bayonne. It also allows you to relive the past, to remember good memories. It’s a nice pretext to get together. My plan is to organize a big family celebration next spring which would bring together the whole club: players, managers, families, children, elders … A day that would allow us to get to know each other better and to learn more about each other. discuss the rugby of yesterday and today.

Jo, what’s the secret to your aging well?

I do not really know. The genes are not for nothing. My parents lived to be 97 and 94. I do some exercise too. But not as much as it takes. In any case, I don’t see the days gone by and I don’t see myself getting old. I feel good. Apart from some rheumatism, so far, everything is fine. I have a friend of mine, Dani, who often makes omelettes with porcini mushrooms. They are sensational. Maybe that’s the secret …