Alby Mathewson: "An easy decision to take"
The New Zealand scrum-half, who has made six appearances with the All Blacks, was at the Berg training centre last Tuesday and took part in his first training session with RCT after arriving in Toulon. Along with Tom Whitford, our team manager, he shared his first impressions after the session.
Alby, can you tell us more about yourself and the way you joined Toulon?
I played in the Super Rugby league for many years and, more recently, in Europe – for Bristol, to be precise. A few clubs were interested in signing me and, one week ago, I had a phone call and I was told that Toulon were interested in my profile. I gave my agreement straightaway: it’s an ambitious team, a nice city, and playing for this club is a great opportunity for me – all the more so as I know Ma’a Nonu and Luke McAlister very well. In the end, it was an easy decision to take.
As they are part of the squad, did this talk you into coming?
Not really. I would have come, anyway. Toulon is a great club, a very famous and ambitious one, with many great players. The conditions are ideal to play and raise one’s game. This did not play a part in my decision, but I was pleased to know I would meet up with them. Many famous New Zealand players used to play for Toulon: Tana Umaga, Jerry Collins, Sonny Bill Williams, David Smith, Rudi Wulf, Ma’a Nonu, Luke McAlister, etc. I’m pleased to know that as well. RCT is a very famous club, perhaps the best-known in the world. I also like the game plan the staff has in mind. Fabien Galthié told me to play how I’ve always known to – trying to create danger in the opponent’s defence, taking advantage of free space, if there is some, or pass the ball, if it’s more convenient. In the end, I’m quite free to play as I wish, as long as I stick to the game plan.
Could you start the game against Brive, next Saturday, at the Stade Mayol?
I hope so! In any case, I’m ready, should the staff pick me. I arrived last Sunday after a long journey and I’m still recovering. I have to understand the directions and the game plan. I’ll work that way. I’m also looking forward to experiencing the passion the supporters have. I know they expect much from us: that’s normal and I like it.