SEBASTIEN SALOM-GOMIS / SIPA
HBC Nantes, which is starting its Champions League campaign, will play its first official match without Nicolas Tournat, who left for Kielce, Poland.
The departure of the pivot will leave a great void to the HBCN and could well change the style of play of the Nantes team.
Do you miss only one being…?
This Wednesday, at the H Arena, HBC Nantes begins its Champions League campaign, with the reception of the Hungarians from Veszprem (vice-European champions 2019), without his extraordinary pivot (2 m for at least 110 kg ) Nicolas Tournat.
This summer, at the age of 26, the beautiful "baby", bottle-fed at the Nantes training center (arrived in 2012), left the cocoon to join another great European: Kielce (Poland).
And left a big void not only in the locker room, but also on the pitch.
The International Tournat in a few figures, they are 541 goals (in 163 D1 matches) and as many adversaries martyred and crushed, both on the French and European scene, by the power of the colossus with skillful hands.
The departure of Tournat, known for three years [he had signed his three-year contract with Kielce in 2017, with effect from 2020], raises concerns and questions to the “H”.
A different style of play without him
“The HBCN will continue to be the HBCN, reassures the coach, Alberto Entrerrios.
We will no doubt have to adapt our game. For now, what we see in training and in matches, we can do as well in attack as we did before.
Its absence, however, requires more attack-defense changes.
Under the purple jersey, Nicolas Tournat shone in fact both in the offensive phase and in the defensive phase.
“It's still early days to know if we'll be at the same level as with Nicolas, but I'm very optimistic!
", Plays down the coach.
The captain, Rock Feliho, is undoubtedly the best placed to speak about the void left by his “buddy”: “Nicolas, we know what he represented in the team.
He is one of the best pivots in the world.
It's difficult to replace one of the best players in his position, but we have to move on now.
“It was an octopus!
The Nantes coach believes that the game of the HBCN will have to evolve.
“Before, we found solutions quickly on the first movement of the attack thanks to Nico, Entrerrios analyzes.
But sometimes, too, we blocked the game a little too much, for lack of continuity in the movements.
It will be less easy to find the game with the pivot without it.
»If we popularize a little, the« H »took advantage of (abused?) Tournat's extraordinary physique to serve him at 6 m.
Which extricated itself from the marking of the opponents and ducking the goalkeepers ...
“It was an octopus, Nico!
», Laughs Feliho.
A player endowed with an astonishing dexterity with the ball for his physique of Breton mover.
“Not everyone takes the balls as he can take them, that's for sure,” admits Mathieu Bataille, pivot who arrived from Ivry this summer.
To compensate for this major departure, the HBCN has recruited two pivots: the Spaniard Adria Figueras Trejo (31 years old) from Granollers and therefore Mathieu Bataille (33 years old).
“Two very high level pivots with different strengths from Nico”, according to Entrerrios.
Nantes now has four players in this position, also with Dragan Pechmalbec (24 years old) and the “little” last Théo Monar, 19 years old, another colossus of the Nantes team with his almost double meter.
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