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Rochelais Stadium. Bosch, Sclavi and Herrera talk about their Argentina, where everything is passion and complications

This is perfect, at the end of March during the meeting, Bosch had just returned, with full batteries: “It’s a disconnection that reconnects us here. You can imagine, we are seven brothers and sisters, and with our parents we had not seen each other together for five years… When I was little, we had a farm, we met 200 people at the beach. It almost had to be privatized, just with the family (laughs). Three months of vacation, with the horses, playing football, tejo [la pétanque locale, NDLR]… »

Sclavi the Italian

Everyone has their childhood memories. “With my father, we took the car from Patagonia to the north of Argentina, recalls Herrera. About 2,500 km ago, we had two days. When you’re young it’s fine, when you grow up…” “You take the plane”, completes Sclavi laughing, amazed by the journey. “Sclaaavi”, as his friend “Facu” pronounces it à la Don Corleone, who loves to bother him, nag him.

Ramiro Herrera, who faces competition from his compatriot Sclavi, only started here against Pau and in Paris.


It is that if today Joel Sclavi is in Port-Neuf the king of the asado, or THE Argentinian barbecue (“I am the guy who helps, behind, in the background”, specifies the hooker), his “back -grandfather was Italian. I noticed there were plenty of Sclavi in ​​Italy, I think I have cousins ​​there. There is even a wine called “Sclavi”! My uncle noticed this when he became naturalized. So we didn’t make “barbecue”, we only ate pasta. Sorrentinos, it’s called. “And the lining of Pierre Bourgarit to feel obliged to explain that” these are species of large ravioli. I’ve never tried it, apparently, it’s a specialty…”

“I tell myself that I can’t stop running”

The Argentinian meal? A space-time where “everyone yells at each other” and where “ten minutes later we drink coffee together”. Ramiro Herrera develops: “There is a rule: at the table, you do not speak religion, politics or football. We have a complicated society, nothing is easy in Argentina, we fight all the time among ourselves… Either you are strong or you are weak. Even on the road, for example in traffic jams, everything is intense! We are very passionate, it’s life and death all the time. »


The former Puma (42 caps, 4th in the 2015 World Cup) had a Boca Juniors fan dad. He remembers the Sunday matches at the Bombonera, or this 2003 Intercontinental Cup won against AC Milan, seen on TV, in the early morning, at 5 o’clock. Bosch is also Boca, Sclavi comes from a family where “it’s River, River, River” (River Plate, the great rival, also located in Buenos Aires, editor’s note). “Recently, we lost against Boca (0-1, March 20, in the Copa de la Liga Profesional). On Monday, I arrive in the locker room at Apivia, there is the shirt on my locker. “Facu” bought it just to prank me…”

For the Albiceleste, on the other hand, they are all united. Like when Lionel Messi is finally crowned with the selection, on the Copa América 2021. “I was in Argentina, says “Toro”. We watched all the matches at a friend’s house, everyone sat in the same place, eating the same thing each time, drinking the same beers…” Passion rhymes with superstition. Maradona rhymes with everything. Facundo Bosch, touched by the subject: “When he died, the country was in isolation but I believe there were 2 million people on the street! He loved the Argentina shirt so much…”

Only one was missing to make the Daltons, here is the trio gathered under the La Rochelle banner.

Only one was missing to make the Daltons, here is the trio gathered under the La Rochelle banner.


Maradona, “not grey”

“It was a good example of everything you have to do on the pitch and everything you shouldn’t do off it,” adds “Cumpa” Herrera. He wasn’t gray, he was black or white, he never found balance. No one is ready to be great like he was. Society had been bashing him since he was 14. I believe he was a slave to it, as an idol. Even the doctor didn’t talk to him like a patient, he talked to him like Maradona. He asked her to take a picture…”

From futbol to rugby, the Argentine colors are the same. The emotions when wearing this shirt, this cherished feeling, are hard to describe. Joel Sclavi, summoned last summer but forfeited because of his cervical, does not know them yet. As for his “heel” friend, 14 caps and a good chance of seeing the 2023 World Cup, he recalls in the preamble that playing for the Pumas means playing for 46 million people. A real responsibility, envied, without cliché.

But what does it change then, really, to have these elongated stripes in the back? “I tell myself that I can’t stop running, that I have to keep moving. If I stop moving, I’m an asshole. When we beat the Blacks (25-15, at Rugby Championship 2020), it was in the middle of the pandemic, everyone was locked up and things weren’t going at all economically… Just one day, one evening, we made people happy. »

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