By Clement Mazella
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Facing Pau, Angel Capuozzo had his first tenure with the Toulouse Stadium. A match in which he pulled out of the game, even if collectively “there were more downs than ups”. Rugby News went to meet him. The 23-year-old boy, calm and thoughtful, returned to his journeyand gives us manyanecdotes.
A child with a very speedy character
Born in Grenoble in 1999, in Italian origins but also having a Malagasy paternal grandfather, Ange Capuozzo is a “very speedy” little boy. « I needed to express myself physically, to move, to go out, get some fresh air, ride a bike, play football, make rugby passes… I was very outdoors », he tells us. His parents contributed to this. Between his 5-12 years, no TV. In short, the console, far from it, makes way for wide open spaces. And especially with his dad. “I had the chance to play with him a lot. In football, in boxing… He let me win, of course, ”he smiles.
His first sport? Judo. “To channel me. I also liked having good contacts with the other children”. He discovered rugby at the age of 6, and started in the U7 category at US Deux-Ponts. Jack-of-all-trades, Ange tests football, because of the importance of this sport within his family. “But it was impossible to do both. I was finally bitten of rugby since my youngest age, so I gave up for the oval ball”. A little later, he tried his hand at Burmese boxing for a year and a half, but also English boxing. « When you go up in category in rugby, it takes too much time and energy, so we had to leave all these activities aside ».
Dominici and Clerc made him dream young
Rugby has been a passion for Ange Capuozzo since childhood. His childhood idol. He says, without thinking too much: Christopher Dominici. “I loved his style, I recognized myself in him with his avoidance rugby. He also had this grinta, this rage, this extra soul, and when you’re a spectator, that’s necessarily what you like. That twinkle in the eye was something. I’ve always loved this player. »
Being from Grenoble, the current Toulouse winger also evokes the local Vincent Clerc. “I was also a fan of his. How many times has he made me dream with these stunts with the XV of France? A great player. »
As a teenager, it was a South African who conquered it: Gio Aplon. “He really influenced me. When I was little, I always had a helmet, I took it off at 11-12 years old. And when he arrived in Grenoble, I was in Cadets, and I put my helmet back on just to imitate him. I identified with him, he had a certain magic, he rocked any meeting”.
He faced Romain Ntamack in youth
Ange Capuozzo gives us another anecdote: young, he faced Romain Ntamack, his current teammate in Toulouse. It was during his 2nd tournament with the FCG, near Montpellier. “Roman was in front of us. I had met his dad, Emile, it’s a sacred memory. Already, being in the skin of the adversary, we had this image of the big club, an enormous force. We had lost, of course. Stade Toulousain took away a bunch of semi-finals or finals from me (laughs). There was a brilliant 99-2000 generation, they won a lot, ”recalls the Italian international (5 caps).
He is a real football fan
If he gave his priority to rugby, Ange Capuozzo is nonetheless soccer fan, a sport that is very important in his family. His favorite club? the FC Napoli. Inevitably, when you have a family with Neapolitan origins… “I love this club, especially via the legend of Diego Maradona”, he insists.
He admits to following the results of this team with attention. “I saw their European Cup match against Liverpool where they put 4. Last weekend, I also saw the match won at AC Milan. They are having a great start to the season, but I didn’t really believe it this season”. And in France ? “Olympic Marseille. I have this culture for OM because I am a child of the 2000s,” he jokes.
Happy with the title of Italy in 2006
His first big football memory? The 2006 World Cup. And if France lost on penalties, Ange Capuozzo was on his side quite happy. The reason ? The winner was none other than Italy. “It’s true, I was happy. I was 7 years old. I think I also followed the winner’s camp a little. I’m keeping a very good memory of it « . He develops for us:
I remember Quai Perrière in Grenoble. It is the old Italian district, it is the gathering place of Italians during important moments. When Italy were champions, it was totally invaded by the whole community, my father brought me and I have wonderful memories of it. I have no trouble saying that I was happy that Italy were world champions in 2006.
A very studious boy at the training center
If he was a very speedy child, Ange Capuozzo quickly channeled himself. At the Grenoble training center, which he joined a little late, he even had the label of the “calm” boy. “I was not the style to sneak up on the wall. I have never been so studious in my life as at that time. I was very careful,” he admits.
The one who started as a professional during the year of Covid-19 admits that at that time, he was “connected to personal development”. “I read a lot, I learned about how to feel better, to be better in my head, my body. I experienced a lot of things like getting up very early (Miracle morning)”. Barely 20 years old…
A nod to Pau…
His first professional match, Ange Capuozzo played it one day in May 2019. He remembers it without batting an eyelid. “In Pau in Top 14”. A meeting where he plays about twenty minutes in … n°9. “This is the position I held in Espoirs”, he said, before specifying: “I am 3/4 of training. I played 9, 10, winger and back between my 13 years and Espoirs”.
Inevitably, playing this first match with Grenoble, with his training club and the city where he was born, was priceless for Ange. « I couldn’t have asked for better, » he says. “I was very impressed, I had the chance to be very well accompanied by the elders. I have memories of great discussions with Lucas Dupont who had helped me all week before and on D-Day. When you’re young, and you have such a club icon who takes care of us, that inevitably resonates. It was reassuring, and it marked me. I hope that one day I could find myself in this situation to help the younger ones”. And he tells us another anecdote: “My first pro match was against Pau, my first regular match with Toulouse was at Pau. Great memories, except the games themselves. I lost them… »
He would like to face his best friend at the 2023 World Cup
Selected with the Italian team for the first time in March 2022, Ange Capuozzo shone and is eyeing the 2023 World Cup. « It is the culmination for each player to participate at least once », underlines he. His wish is « to do it », even if he does not consider himself « not at all as an Italian executive ».
2023 is still full of symbols for him: the competition is in France, Italy is in the Blues pool and France-Italy is planned for Lyon, near Grenoble, his hometown. “All these signals, it’s a dream”. And he confesses to us: « I pray with all my heart that my best friend, Killian Geraci, with whom I grew up, with whom I was in primary school, either too. If we can do this competition and compete against each other, it can add magic to the event. This World Cup, it makes me dream.
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