Daniel, do you realize it’s over?
It’s about to start, oui. It was getting hard, but I knew it was going to happen, that it had to end. The time has come for a new adventure, to make new experiences, of life after rugby. I tried not to think but it was there, in a corner of my head, I was ready. I suppose this is simplified by an opportunity chosen by a passerby. I was 38, it was good, long, funny, everything I could dream of.
We have the impression that you are still in the throes of emotion …
(Ed: his voice shuts up) A little, yes. But it’s normal. This is the fact of coming to the training center, to see the guys maybe…
You came to spend ten years in Pau…
Which is funny, I just turned 28 and I thought I might just be playing at 33 or 34. I had many chances to go far with good people!
Are you feeling at home all the time?
When I arrived I was nervous, I was the foreigner who did not speak the language, I had heard him say that he was hard to be accepted in a French club. So the first thing I’m attached to doing is to earn respect. And then the public accepted me that after six months, I was like at home.
Do you keep specific memories of this period?
I keep great memories of my first year of Pro D2. He took the bus and traveled through France every weekend, it was the best way to discover this country. It was old school, and what I don’t remember about me either, it was the preservation, everyone was talking to me about bullets. I was told “Attention, in Pro D2 there aren’t many cameras…”
And today you speak French?
Yes, even if you master the language, don’t show it! My way of life, the fact that my children are born in France and go to French school… We will regret a lot of things here, starting with the people and Pau. But for the moment you have finished the business course in Toulouse, we will stay a little in France and we will confirm the next one.
Are you afraid to cross paths?
Yes, it is the fear of the unknown. But my wife, who is very independent, sacrificed everything for fifteen years to follow me. She is a champion, she is amazing! Now, it’s my turn.
You were shocked that on Sunday night, after the last match, you noticed I had a checkout coming home…
It was hard. It was really hard (Ed: his gaze wanders, he asks to interrupt the maintenance). The fact that it was either finished, or that it was an important stage for my family, is devastating. There is also the sadness that it ends. But these are also happy feelings, I am sad because here is a family! Our next life in Australia, it has a scary side but it’s life!
Have you discussed with the elders to prepare you?
With the Classic All Blacks, yes, who are all retired. And each of them said to me, “Play as long as you can!” But they also talked to me about the exciting side of this new life. And I didn’t say much about this period with Julien Fumat. The first step is the hardest, the next is the easiest…
Playing one more year was not an option?
I really feel good! Before the Covid I felt numb, limp, but after these months of cutting my body has regenerated. I will play for fun in Australia with Ben Mowen! I like this game very much.
In Pau, I also had difficult times, such as this aggression in 2013…
It was in my first season in Pau. It was terrifying, I was told that I had a chance to come out alive (Ed: Ramsay and Taumoepeau had attacked Lyon in the evening after a match). To be attacked by guys with baseball bats, I never imagined I would have left my butt, my teeth, I will finally be able to fix it before I leave. It was at the wrong moment in the wrong place, I never thought otherwise.
And periods of sporting doubt?
We were close, we knew he was missing a trick but didn’t know what But we have to believe that we have to lose two to succeed in winning one, it was our way!
Did you have the opportunity to leave Pau?
Honestly no. I always prolonged long enough, there were already some proposals, which did not come from “top clubs” but I always chose family stability. I didn’t see the interest in bouger. It would seem bizarre in a world where money is so important but after the thirties, I no longer wanted to move.
The path I walk gives you reason…
When I arrived in the Highlanders, I was almost from a place with a large training structure, and in Hameau, there were only two or three banks of muscle. ‘he has become. Progress may not be as fast as some would like, but progress is being made!
What memories would you like to leave to Pau?
That of a guy who loves rugby, the game, the Section. Yes, that’s it, I’m a Section guy.
The Top 5 of “Ramo”
The best co -worker
It’s easy, Colin Slade. It is irreparable. He could do anything, shoot, pass, plaster, he was a leader. A talented player, worker, inspiring for others. Of course I could have talked about Conrad Smith as well. It was great, before the matches, when you were covered by the shoulders, you opened your eyes and you saw Conrad by your side?
The most crazy
Mathieu Acébès was crazy, yes. Before the matches it was terrible! In New Zealand, we had to relax, when I came to France I saw this kind of hyperexuality. had hit the bar just in the middle but was reported without bronchitis. It was crazy but I love it!
The team he wanted to face
La Rochelle, without hesitation. I never beat them. Others say yes, but they do not. When we were playing we didn’t even think about the victory, there was this rivalry, this crowd behind them. It’s a big club.
The most impressive adverse
Antoine Dupont would say. You know that when he is on the field, Toulouse will be incredible. Turning the match to him alone is a permanent threat. It’s all close to the rucks, unplugging unexpected passes… In the team, I would also Votu. On Thursday, when there were oppositions, if you found yourself face to face with him and he was in shape… It was a p… of bestiole, a sacred monster, it was very hard to plaster.
The biggest moment
Win the Pro D2. There had been so much fighting the seasons before. I remember every stage that goes down on the ground. I no longer want my teammates, just those happy faces, proud of Pau, which we have won. I couldn’t move anymore, they hugged me, they put me in their hands. There, I’ve done rugby account for these people. I will never forget it.