Alexandre Ruiz (SA XV): « The South Africans were singing as they followed me. »

Avant de devenir entraîneur à Montpellier puis Angoulême depuis cet été, Alexandre Ruiz a été arbitre international et a participé à ce titre à la Coupe du monde en 2019 au Japon, où il a officié à la touche sur cinq matches de poule avant d’être le 4e Je ne peux pas reformuler.

Je ne peux pas reformuler.

Est-ce que cette Coupe du monde demeure une expérience incroyable ?

Of course. It was an extraordinary 52-day human adventure. I was far from my loved ones, my little one was starting school and it was difficult to leave, there were factors that made me feel alone, far from my roots. But I had already officiated in Japan several times and now, after 52 days, I could almost speak Japanese!

Avez-vous pu découvrir le pays en dehors de la compétition ?

Yes, even though it was a hectic pace with a match to referee every four days, it was exciting. But whenever we had a little free time, Japan is well-served in terms of trains to go on a day trip. When you live in a community every day, it’s important sometimes to have a little time alone.

It was quite a human adventure, and this communal life also serves me today as a coach to listen, share, and exchange. The beauty of things is that we can have different opinions, that there is not only one truth.

Est-ce qu’il y avait beaucoup d’enthousiasme autour de l’événement ?

Yes, it was truly impressive because the stadiums were full, and there was an incredible atmosphere. The organization was absolutely perfect in terms of logistics. The supervision was of very high quality, and you could fully enjoy the event. There was no stress, so every moment was a moment of happiness.

Are there any specific memories and emotions that remain regarding the matches?

Le premier match à la touche, Ecosse – Irlande, c’était forcément un événement particulier. Il y avait l’appréhension parce que c’est atypique, mais c’était un grand moment.

Another one, it was for South Africa – Italy. I replaced Mathieu Raynal who fell ill in the morning. I went to find South Africa deep down the stadium corridor, maybe 40 or 50 seconds of walking. And there, they were singing as they came out of the locker room, following me. It was just wow! The chills. It’s one of my great moments. The video must still be circulating on social media.

Est-ce que les hymnes sont également considérés comme un moment spécial lorsqu’on parle de chants ?

Yes, but once you are in the competition, it remains a regular match. We understand the importance of matches, we are prepared for that in terms of intensity with the Six Nations and the European Cup. What changes is the environment. The fervor surrounding it. In the stadium, it’s the World Cup. A France – England match in the Six Nations, you will have French and English supporters. Here, you will have the entire rugby world coming together. These are different matches.