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Extraordinary co-coaching partnership's 14-year run

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'It isn't the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but there is pain and disappointment'

Laurent Travers has admitted he feels sad his extraordinary 14-year, co-coaching partnership with Laurent Labit is due to soon end.

After successful stints together at Montauban, Castres and Racing 92, Labit is off to experience the Test arena after deciding to join the France national team set-up under incoming boss Fabien Galthie, a development that will leave Travers running the show at Racing all on his own.

Having won Top 14 titles at Castres and Racing, the pair seemed inseparable given their successful working arrangement as equal partners. However, that dynamic is about to to finally change, leaving a feeling of nostalgia in the air as Racing attempt to reach the end-of-season title play-offs.

“Of course (you feel nostalgic). It’s normal after 14 years and the results we had with all the players and staffs that we met,” said Travers in a interview.

“This separation is difficult but it doesn’t erase what we achieved together for 14 years. Nor is it the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. But as in any end, there is pain and disappointment.

“There are choices that he and I take. A new challenge will be presented next season for him as for me, but what is certain is that everyone will want the other to succeed.

“Laurent had this opportunity to be an assistant, with superiors who will be Fabien Galthie and Raphael Ibanez. I wish him all the happiness and be able to succeed.

“We sometimes had disagreements but I don’t know a couple who doesn’t have any. They were settled in an office and didn’t go further.”

Having operated as a co-coach for so long, next season will be an adjustment for Travers as he goes it alone as a team boss. It’s a challenge he’s looking forward to.

“I will be head coach, that is to say that I will be in charge of all the professional and sports area of the club. It’s a great responsibility and I want to thank president (Jacky) Lorenzetti for the trust he gives me.

“This will not prevent me from continuing to be close to the field because that’s what I like, but I will manage a staff in the image of what can do Franck Azema in Clermont or Pierre Mignoni in Lyon,” he said, going on to admit that the names of Ronan O’Gara and Gonzalo Quesada have been in the mix to link up at Racing as an assistant coach.

Ronan O’Gara worked under Laurent Travers during his spell at Racing, but he won’t be returning to Paris (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

“Nothing is concrete, yet it’s true that they are part of the short-list. Ronan, I worked with him at Racing recently and I get on very well with him.

“The challenge would have interested him but unfortunately, he told me that we arrived too late because he had already given his word to another club (most likely La Rochelle). Out of respect, I did not ask him which one.

“Regarding Gonzalo, he knows the club and we have been in contact several times. I will not deny that there are contacts.

“What I can say is that next season, in addition to me, we will have a forwards coach, a three-quarters coach who will also be responsible for the attack and the strategy with me, and a coach of the defence. The staff will not be bloated, but everyone will have a well-defined mission.”

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'It isn't the divorce of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, but there is pain and disappointment'
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