Editorial: seven Oscars, eight totems

Friday’s editorial by Léo Faure… On a class issue, the Midi Olympique Oscars saw a few pass, and not half-portion charisma. Great guys, more inspiring in life than they were on the pitch, throughout successful careers. Players who still spread their talents on the pitch, others who have become leaders, coaches or even simple spectators who are adorable and adored by rugby. And all of them, when they take the voice, have this point in common: we are silent and we listen to them. It is characteristic of great men.

In this regard, our Oscars have offered some rare specimens for many years. Of those that we don’t hunt, that we don’t capture and that we let speak on the fly, because their natural element of full freedom makes them even more beautiful. This 2022 edition will however remain stamped with the seal of exception. After awarding seven Oscars, it brought together in the same room, around the same table and then on the same stage, the eight world champion captains in the history of rugby. It looks classy on a resume. However, this is nothing compared to the elegance of spirit with which they flooded the audience.

All of them have different paths, reasons of heart that have nevertheless led them to this same point, one day every four years: the roof of the world. David Kirk the pioneer, Nick Farr-Jones the lawyer, François Pienaar the standard, John Eales the academic, Martin Johnson the general, John Smit the fighter, Richie McCaw the impeccable and Siya Kolisi, last of the prestigious line, as a superb symbol of a living together so precious in this sport, so central to the rainbow nation.

Kolisi still benefits from a strength of age which will lead him to guide his people for a second World Cup. He will try, excuse me, to join the only Richie McCaw in the rank of the captains, double world champions. Yet when his predecessors walked the Oscars stage before him, the Port Elizabeth township kid had the same stars in his eyes as the rest of the audience. Happy as a kid, as if he was still struggling to find his place in this circle of legends. It is, however. A huge captain, a bigger man. Legitimate among the totems of rugby history.

His smile took shape a little wider when François Pienaar and John Smit took the microphone. And his eyes, small round and black marbles so comforting, suddenly opened wide. Kolisi admires his predecessors even more than he respects them. And these, from the stage, each gave him a wink in return, when Siya was quicker than the rest of the room to launch strong applause.

It is therefore this boy, whose sweetness of being still exceeds the quality of the player, that the Top 14 is eyeing. Starting with Racing 92. The last active world champion captain does not hide watching these courtship displays with affection which were unfolded to him. This is to say the renewed attractiveness of our championship, one year from the World Cup and while the transfer market is agitated. It is also to say the chance that we would have, to welcome him among us.

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Editorial: seven Oscars, eight totems