From rugby pitches to school benches… Ariégeois Yoann Huget presents his new life

the essential
After ending his rugby career in 2021, former player of the XV of France Yoann Huget embarked on training as a general manager of a sports club. A necessary change for the Ariégeois, who could soon return to Stade Toulousain.

He swapped the ball for the notebooks. Yoann Huget, former rugby player for Stade Toulousain and the France team (62 caps), had ended his career at the end of the 2020-2021 season, which ended with a formidable French championship / cup double from Europe.

These titles, the Ariègeois could not fully appreciate them. Seriously injured in the Achilles tendon during a Top 14 match, then operated on in stride, he had been forced to watch his friends win the two trophies from a distance. His participation in the red and black epic had nevertheless allowed him to brandish the Brennus shield with the other players, even if the jacket had then replaced the jersey.

For about a year and a half, Yoann Huget has therefore left the grounds and his rich Toulouse adventure behind him. Aged 35, the tall black man from Pamiers is back on the benches of school, professional retraining obliges. It was at the Center for Sports Law and Economics (CDES) in Limoges (Haute-Vienne), having seen figures such as Zinédine Zidane pass, that he was hired. “In September 2021, it was a little weird to go back to school. I was really wondering if I had made the right choice by stopping rugby”, admits the ex-professional, who passed through SU Agen and l Bayonne rowing.

But the man “needed to take a step back” from the green rectangle. The idea was not to “rush into a reassuring project”, rather to “put yourself in danger”.

“And here I am a guy having trouble running who is going back to school!”

Almost every day, the triple champion of France gets up at dawn, puts on his sneakers and does his little running session, just to keep “sports habits”. Once back in his house located in Biarritz (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), which he had acquired during his stay in Bayonne, the father of the family devotes his time to his children. The “day revolves a bit around them”.

The fact of feeling the oval ball daily, on the other hand, does not necessarily miss him. “What I miss is more the atmosphere of the locker room and connecting the guys in the morning,” laughs the former international.

However, exit the straps and crampon noises. Make way for pens and the computer. At CDES, in the 12th promotion of DU General Manager, Yoann Huget rubs shoulders with other former high-level athletes well known to followers. “I found myself with exceptional players like Olivier Magne, Loïc Perrin, Yohan Cabaye… Guys I watched on television. Was that my place? At the beginning, I was not one of them. not sure”, says the native Appamean.

Clearly, it is as if a second life had started. “It was the end of my career. I had only done rugby… And now I’m a guy having trouble running who is going back to school!” And to continue: “When you are a professional rugby player, you are pampered. At Stade Toulousain, everything is taken into account, from the sock to the cap. Almost overnight, I found myself faced with several small problems of the life.”

A project with Stade Toulousain

This “normal life”, the former sprinter of the XV of France ended up getting used to it. Each month, he spends a week with his fifteen CDES comrades, crisscrossing the clubs of France in search of new knowledge. Recently, Yoann Huget was thus able to observe the operation of the Racing club of Strasbourg, a Ligue 1 club (football).

And at the start of January 2023, it’s a bit of a homecoming. Currently, the Ariégeois is indeed hardened in the bowels of the Stade Toulousain. As a symbol, for those who see themselves rejoining the club in the future, once their training is complete. “My professional project is linked to Stade Toulousain, like my life. We are building something in parallel”, reveals Huget.

General manager, sporting director… The objective is to occupy a position halfway between the president and the coach. But before that, the kid from Pamiers must validate his diploma. “I have a dissertation to submit each year. And my training cycle ends next June.” There is no doubt, therefore, that the Ariègeois will soon repoint the tip of his nose at the edge of the field. As he likes to say: “When you are passionate, you remain so for life.”

From rugby pitches to school benches… Ariégeois Yoann Huget presents his new life