After a staggeringly successful season with Top 14 champions Castres, Marcel Garvey takes some time out to answer our questions…
How are you enjoying your time in France?
Really enjoying my time in France thanks and loving the whole experience of something new.
What is the general mood around the squad after the Top 14 victory?
Obviously everyone was on a high and partied for over a week, at our pre season camp last summer we went through our aims and objectives as a team for the season. The majority of the squad said being champions of France and getting through to the knock out stages of the Heineken Cup.
we achieved one of them and if I am honest during the vote I voted for semis because I saw that has more realistic but we did it.
How much of a disappointment was it to miss the final due to squad rotation?
I was disappointed because i played in the last game of the regular season against Racing metro and we needed to not loose by more than 2 or 3 tries and not give them a bonus point to have a home 1/4s and the coach said he was happy with my game. After Marc and Romain got selected for the 1/4s i knew i wouldn’t play because once you get to the knock out stages you shouldn’t really be doing rotation. I got used to it during the season and i had no qualms about Marc and Romain starting because they are 2 very good players and at the end of the day it’s a squad effort.
What is the main difference between French and English rugby?
The French teams will always win at home and tend not to travel away that great, the mentality for away game was always different in terms of training and the mood in the group unless the match was against Toulouse or the other big names.
Would you ever consider coming back to England or would you be interested in experiencing rugby elsewhere?
At the moment i am happy at Castres but you never know what the future holds.
With French teams strengthening so well for next season who do you think will be competing for the Top 14 crown?
Toulouse, Clermont, Toulon, Montpellier, Perpignan and Castres will be the Top 6. If Racing metro gel with all the signings they’ve made they could be very dangerous but like football money can not always buy you success.
Are Castres doing anything differently to prepare?
I’m not sure yet we start back on the 3rd July and it will be all change with the coaching department and conditioners going to Racing and a new coaching teaming coming in. But it’s exciting times
Do you think with the money being spent on players there’s a chance that we could see a financial crisis in France in the future?
I think people are mis informed on money over here because it is very similar to England but has players you get paid net and pay tax at the end of the year so wages monthly are quoted net.
I don’t know about other teams but Castres are very fortunate to have a owner like Piere Fabre who will fund the club for a period of time after he passes away which shows good stability.
What is your favourite think about playing in France both on and off the field?
On the field you play against some of the biggest names in the world every week, off the field I get to travel France and also Spain which is a few hours drive with my family and experience a different culture. Also mange beaucoup, French food is amazing
Do you have any ambitions for after you hang up your boots? And if so are you doing anything to prepare for this?
I have a business computing degree and I’m very interested in computer programing but I’ve not done anything since I’ve arrived so need to refresh my mind. I also have my level 2 coaching badge and will hopefully do my level 3 next season at some point and I am very big in to property and have a portfolio and would be interested in property development. There’s a lot to think about but has a lot of retired players say your a long time retired so enjoy the rugby while you can.
Could you tell us a bit about your commercial responsibilities as an elite rugby player both on and off the pitch?
On the pitch has player’s we represent CO and the manner in which we carry ourselves reflects on the club and the clubs sponsors. We do meet and greets with the sponsors and work closely with the clubs commercial department. Off the pitch players have individual sponsorships weather it be boot and kit or supplements and has players we endorse them. Last season I was with Puma but at present not sure what’s happening and for supplements I am with PAS.
Who are you looking forward to playing with at Castres next season?
We’ve got Richie Gray coming, which is a big signing for the club, and we have kept hold of Rory Kockett which is good news. Also Brice Dulin, Max Evans and Remi Tales
Are there any emerging talents either in the Castres squad or in the French league we should be looking out for in the next couple of years?
At Castres keep an eye out for Marc-Antoine Rallier who is a hooker in the mould of Shalk Britz, Piula Fassalele a 2nd row or back row who earned he’s 1st cap for Samoa in the summer and Mathieu Babillot a back rower who represented France U20’s in the Junior world cup
How’s the French?
Pas Mal, Been doing a French course at the club with Max Evans, Pedrie Wannenburg,and Dan Kirkpatrick it’s getting there my children are fluent which has made coming to France worth while.
Who was your idol as you grew up playing rugby?
Didn’t really watch much rugby growing up because i was a football and basketball fan and didn’t get into rugby until late on. If I was to say anyone I would say Jeremy Guscott and Lomu
Is there any player you would love to play with at some stage?
I would like to play outside Quade Cooper and Conrad Smith 2 very contrasting players
Sailosi Tagicakibau he’s a handful to tackling
How was it switching between Gloucester and Worcester?
It was quite smooth because I cheated and travelled from Gloucester but I’m very thankful to the club because when I signed for them in November they were surprisingly in 4/5th in the league and I had not played a game for Gloucester so far in the season.
Do you still watch the Premiership and if so which teams are you looking forward to seeing next year?
I don’t really watch a lot of rugby but if the big games are on a Sunday I will watch or if Worcester are playing.
Any tips for aspiring wingers/players looking to make it in the game?
Believe in yourself
And a couple of questions from the fans…
What do you miss after leaving Worcester Warriors?
I miss the banter a lot, the French banter is not the same as the English and the fans
Best thing about Castres?
Small town but the supporter’s here are very passionate about the club and the home games are a great experience.
Individual preparations/training during the season to ensure you are always performing at your peak?
Getting the balance right between diet, recovery and having fun