The Parisian Christophe Dominici surrounded by Toulouse, April 30, 2005 at the Parc des Princes.
Damien Meyer / AFP
Emblem of the Stade Français and tricolor rugby, Christophe Dominici died on Tuesday.
The winger was one of the main players in the “clasicos” against Stade Toulousain, between 1997 and 2008, with domination over French rugby at stake.
Former adversaries remember a "leader" and "an endearing boy".
The Capitol against the Capital.
The “terroir” against the “glitter”.
The shock of the Stadiums.
At the turning point of the first and second millenniums, the duels between Toulouse and Paris, labeled “clasicos” in the media, fascinated a world of French rugby which was officially discovering professionalism.
For more than a decade, from 1997 to 2008, Christophe Dominici, who died on Tuesday at the age of 48, was "the spearhead" of this French Stadium made in Max Guazzini, explains Emile Ntamack.
“He was a leader, exemplary and decisive, underlines the former back or legendary winger of Stade Toulousain.
It was a pleasure to play him, but we also knew the difficulty of scoring him.
"The father of Romain (50 years old) was one of the reigning quadruple champions of France beaten in the semifinals of the 1998 championship (39-3) by" Domi "and his friends (Comba, Dominguez, Juillet, Moscato…).
The unbearable winger was then on the road to the first of his five Brennus Shields with Paris.
⬛️ The rugby family is in mourning after the announcement of the death of one of its greatest champions, Christophe Dominici.
Stade Toulousain, which he has faced on numerous occasions, sends his sincere condolences to his family, friends and his heart club of @SFParisRugby.
- Stade Toulousain (@StadeToulousain) November 24, 2020
“It remains the first team that brought us down when we were untouchable.
Christophe was at the height of his talent.
We had taken our revenge the following year [51-19 in the quarterfinals] but that started the rivalry which lasted for years.
Grégory Lamboley belonged to the following Toulouse generation, who continued to fight against the Var from the capital, now escorted by the Rabadan, De Villiers or Marconnet.
"He was one of the players whose presence you watched on the match sheets when he came to Toulouse or when you went to Paris," launches the 38-year-old second or third row.
We played each other many times, it was the heyday of the clasico.
Legendary actions and forbidden hits
Regular phase matches relocated to the Stade de France in front of 80,000 people, legendary actions (the spoon of Parisian Jérôme Fillol which prevents Florian Fritz from running on trial during the 2005 semi-final) and forbidden blows (the "tie »From Christian Labit on Dominici during the semi-final 2000) and even a European Cup final won in 2005 by Toulouse after extra time thanks to the foot of Frédéric Michalak…
Jean-Marc Arnaud, at the head of Le Huit, the main group of Red and Black supporters, has not missed anything from all this time when the Calendar of the Gods of the Stadium and all the Parisian decorum did not necessarily have a good press in the capital self-proclaimed of the French oval.
No more than the Dominici, Roncero or Marconnet ...
"There was still a lot of respect"
"I did not appreciate the Stade Français at that time, I thought it was spectacle rather than rugby, but it must be said that a Guazzini or a Dominici brought something new that was then copied, recognizes the fifty-something.
We have to take the hat off to them.
Dominici had a special character, but he was able to do things that no one could anticipate.
It was a big advantage not having him in front of him.
"There was still a lot of respect", testifies Emile Ntamack who, like Lamboley and a shovelful of Toulouse, rubbed shoulders with Dominici in the France team.
“He was a funny guy, but an endearing boy,” says Ntamack senior.
“He is a player that I admired, says Lamboley.
He was iconic, a funny and jovial bigmouth.
Very "rugby", the valve of a Parisian emblem to a Toulouse myth is not necessarily relatable ... Three years later, the international with 67 selections played his last rugby match, concluded with a defeat (31-13) .
A Top 14 semi-final against Toulouse, inevitably… Before his tragic death, Christophe Dominici had already entered the pantheon of his sport.
“Even people who don't know anything about rugby know who it is,” supports Grégory Lamboley.
In France, apart from Michalak, Chabal and him, I don't see any others.
This Tuesday evening, no one will say the opposite.
Not even in Toulouse.
Death of Christophe Dominici: "Small in size but a titan on the ground", the homage of the All Blacks to Domi
Death of Christophe Dominici: "A guy a little crazy but so warm" ... His former teammates pay tribute to him
XV of France