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Top chef with Benjamin Garcia of the Catalans Dragons

The captain of the Catalans Dragons took the time to receive us in Argelès-sur-Mer this Thursday, June 30. The only player in the current squad to have played all the matches this season (18 matches), returns to a very special course, during which nothing will be spared him. Recipes for success according to “Benji”. To be consumed without moderation before the Dragons – St-Helens scheduled for Saturday in Gilbert-Brutus.

Fell very early in the pot

“I started at XV, at four years old, following in the footsteps of my brother Anthony, who is eight years older. There was a lack of players in my village, Apt, and they stopped this rugby school. I did not know not the XIII and I went to Gargas next to my house. I stayed there until the first year cadets and after, I went to the pole of St-Martin-de-Crau and to SO Avignon”says this jack of all trades. “Before rugby, I did a year of tennis, I didn’t like it, the same for football and boxing”.

“I told my parents that I would be pro”

“At 13, my parents took me to see the Dragons in Perpignan and even if on television, I watched the XV more, I always told my parents that I would be professional. My mother did not believe me and she insisted that I continue my studies, but each time, I told him, do not worry, I will be “pro”. I have a BEP Accounting, because my father always told me to go at the end of my studies, otherwise you will become a mason with me”.

XV–XIII? The moment when everything changed

As incredible as it may seem, Benjamin Garcia almost never knew the Catalans Dragons. “There was a complicated period with my parents’ divorce. I was hesitating between the Toulon XV training center that I had visited and which was waiting for me and Australia. My father and my brother wanted me to go to the Var and in fact, I chose the opposite”. In Australia, Laurent Garnier was looking for a young Frenchman to join the Wynnum club. Théo Gonzalez-Trique is the chosen one, but he crosses over (knee). Didier Lacreu puts forward the name of Benjamin Garcia, then first team member at SOA. “Laurent Garnier said to me, ‘you come for a month and we see what happens’. I was 18 and I find myself there without a car, having to do odd jobs to live. You should know that in NRL at the U20, you are obliged to have a job or to study, if you want to sign “.

The right dosage to have

Between the career of a professional sportsman and family life, the balance is often fragile. In any case, it requires big sacrifices from both sides. “We found a good balance with Adeline. Arrangements had to be found, for example his mum who babysits Lou on the eve of matches so that I can sleep well. In the sport we do, if we want to perform well, we have to be selfish about certain things. It’s hard for my partner to live with, all week, when there’s a game, I’m very careful about what I eat and I go to bed early. I never cut”.

The right attitude, a recipe that works

Education and past pitfalls have forged the mind of this tough guy, very demanding with himself and who displays a positive attitude in all circumstances: “When I started rugby, we were never enough in Gargas to play and we took tans every weekend. I’m going very, very far. I am however a big complainer, even at home, but for the team, if I start to be negative, it is not good.admits this cycling fan who recalls an anecdote. “I had the chance to go to the Brisbane Broncos in U20 and I remember a trip. It was very hot and we had to go to Canberra. The coach told us “the first one who talks about the cold that will be there, he won’t play anymore”. When you’re young and a coach tells you, if you talk about the weather I’ll kick you off the team, you learn never to complain about the weather.”.

20% like everyone else and 80% good at him

Aware of the sacrifices required to register over time, Garcia has learned over time and today he lucidly transmits his experience. “We spend 20% of the time at the stadium. I often tell young people, “It’s not the 20% that you do well that counts, but everything else. The 20%, everyone does the same. The “bodybuilding” session is the same, so “what are you going to do outside of this 20% to be better? “. I take it like that. The most important thing is that 80%, sleep, eat well, be in good shape for the match and prepare mentally..

Is there a recipe for beating St-Helens?

How does a bad loser prepare for the arrival of St-Helens, who have three consecutive victories against the Dragons? “There is always a lever that you can find to stay motivated, to say in your head that you are going to win, instead of lamenting about withdrawals. You have to prepare in the head, because they are very strong. We have a game plan that worked very well in the first leg (28-8 defeat), except that we didn’t do it for 80 minutes. They are very aggressive, they go up very quickly, but there are a lot of opportunities on the outside. You have to dare and play them well. At the Magic weekend, it was once we were freed that we tried everything and it worked. On the way out, from the start we try a kick over and we score the only try (Fouad Yaha) ”, likes to remember the one who is also captain of the XIII of France.

Choices and regrets?

As brilliant as Benjamin Garcia’s career may be, taking up the torch from the greatest in his sport, his abortive adventure in 2016 in NRL (Penrith) remains a deep regret. “There are opportunities that some will play and others won’t, but because they are there at the right time. Julian Bousquet would have a place in an NRL squad. I wanted to be in a project, to win and to play. But it was Ivan Cleary who brought me to Penrith and the club parted ways with him a month before I arrived to put on Griffin. It’s always been a regret.”concludes Captain Garcia who will be accompanied tomorrow by the encouragement of young people from the Gargas rugby school present at Brutus.
Hoping now that his recipes will be reproduced by future generations.

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