Relaxed?! It is with peace of mind that Stéphane Robineau finds his lands in Nivernaise on the occasion of the seventh and final stage of the Masters, in Nevers. Decisive, but not for his team, made up of Dylan Rocher, Henri Lacroix and Simon Cortès. “They did the job last week at Trévoux, winning. The objective is fulfilled, we are qualified” for the final Four in Romans-sur-Isère, on August 29, 30 and 31, which will bring together the four best teams on the board.
« It was not won in advance, the level has never been so homogeneous », notes the original Cosnois, 42, licensed in Fréjus since 2018. « We had complicated the task at Six-Fours , when we had two semi-finals and two finals”, in Saint-Gilles-Croix-de-Vie and Thaon-les-Vosges.
Unsurprisingly, Stéphane Robineau had put an option on the appointment of the ducal city. « It’s Dylan (Rock) who won’t be there. It was agreed from the start, but it depended a little on the progress of the Masters. »
The click in 2002 with the Nevers team
Of the triplet champion of France in title, they will thus be only two (with Lacroix), accompanied by a Cortes who does not mismatch. “It’s nice to play at Nevers, but it puts extra pressure, because I want to do well. This is a step that has often worked well for me. We will try to have fun and give it to those who are waiting for me at the turn”, under the gaze of family and friends. “I kept my ties in the Nièvre. My parents, who are still in Cosne, will be there. This is an opportunity to see them, to kill two birds with one stone…”
The Nivernais has not forgotten his debut at the Tracy-sur-Loire club and his first “big” result in 2002: a victory in the Sports + Trophy, which has become the Cities Trophy, with Emmanuel Lucien, François Dumont and Dominique Vaillant . “A click”, according to Stéphane Robineau, who launched his career. “Behind, I had won Millau”, head-to-head. « I climbed the ladder », to settle among the best French people, stamped world references. “I am still a high-level sportsman with the Federation. The France group has just been reduced to twelve. I am fortunate to continue to be part of it. »
Henry (The cross), like other partners, gave me the benefit of its experience. I progressed in contact with them, in contact with him. I have calmed down, I am more mature in the game.
Champion of France doublets in 2011 (with Rocher) and triplets in 2017, 2018 and 2022 (with Rocher and Lacroix), Stéphane Robineau has forged a list of achievements, before a reputation. Jumble: a bronze medal at the world championship in 2008 with the French team, two European Club Cups in 2017 with Draguignan and in 2021 with Fréjus, two French Club Cups (2017 and 2020), four City Trophies (2002, 2007, 2014 and 2017), a Masters in 2019 and above all five victories at La Marseillaise, the biggest competition in the world.
Over time, his love of the game has not faded. Stéphane Robineau slowly slipped from shooter to pointer, and abandoned the head-to-head. « I liked it when I was young, but not anymore… I think it’s a selfish game, » he says. « It doesn’t look like me. I like to discuss, share my victories. I still do it because I have obligations or at the time of the French Club Cup, but it’s different: you play for your team, with your teammates. There is a notion of sharing that suits me better. »
His teammates, for six years, are the best: Dylan Rocher (5 world titles, including 2 in precision shooting) and Henri Lacroix (13 world titles). « Dylan, I say it often, he’s my little brother. We’ve been playing together for almost fifteen years, apart from a one-year hiatus. We are very close in life. It goes beyond the framework of petanque. Our children grew up together. We know each other by heart. It’s a strength in a team. »
premium The two triplets from Pouilly-sur-Loire, engaged on Wednesday August 24 at the Nevers Masters, have arguments to make
But, everything has an end. Henri Lacroix, he will no longer be part of the adventure at the start of the school year. “He is going to set up a new team at La Crau. “It’s a turning point, not a surprise, because he had prepared us for it. He will become an adversary, but that does not take anything away from what we have experienced together. »
“Henri, like other partners, gave me the benefit of his experience,” continues Stéphane Robineau. “I progressed in contact with them, in contact with him. I’ve calmed down, I’m more mature in the game. Maybe I’ve also become a more complete player?? When we’re young, we’re fiery, and it sometimes plays tricks on us (He is laughing). »
To replace Henri Lacroix, Dylan Rocher and Stéphane Robineau raked wide, before settling on a name. And not just anyone: Diego Rizzi, leader of Italy, doubles world champion and licensed hitter (like Rocher)?! “We had several leads. Many pointed out to us that he was a shooter, like Dylan, but after consultation, we wanted to bet on youth. Diego had the right profile. We know him well and he too wanted to take a step forward, by leaving Italy. This is a new challenge that will be offered to us. Even if we are aware that replacing Henri will be complicated. We are still talking about the player of recent years. Henry Lacroix?! »
Moving to Montpellier
This is not the only change in the life of Stéphane Robineau, father of Louis, 5, and Margot, 2. “I moved in May, from Draguignan to Montpellier. I will join the Nicollin group. It’s a new life, but it won’t change anything for pétanque. »
In fact, the Paris SG fan (« I think it’s going to be a good year ») had to stop playing football. » Oh yes?! I had resumed in Draguignan in a leisure football team at 7. I played once a week, as a defender, it made me run, I need it (smiles). But the Covid arrived and I did not resume… ”
In a season well underway, Stéphane Robineau finally has only one regret. That the world championships in Benin be canceled. “It’s the title I miss and I think I’ve proven over the past few years that I deserve this selection. Sharing it with Dylan and Henri might be nice. It would be the end of the end, a consecration for all three. We’ll see next year. »
In the meantime, there is Nevers. « We can get first place, » retains Stéphane Robineau, before evoking an interest in appearing well, despite the lack of challenge for his team. “The Final Four is not far behind. One result is the assurance of arriving at Romans with confidence. »
After six steps
1. Italy team, 36 points; 2. Team Rock, 34; 3. Team Bonetto, 30; 4. Team Quintais, 29; 5. Team Montoro, 26; 6. Andriantseheno team, 16; 7. Spain 15 national team.
Quintais, Montoro and Bonetto: three teams for two places
Two teams have already qualified for the Final Four. Two are definitely excluded. What are the stakes of the last stage of the Masters in Nevers?
For several weeks, it has been written that the Nivernais meeting would be decisive in the race to qualify for the Final Four bringing together the four best triplets on the board for the 23rd edition. It will be good, but only for three teams, those of Philippe Quintais, Ludovic Montoro and Mickaël Bonetto.
Because Trévoux (Ain), last week, endorsed the qualifications of Italy and the team of Dylan Rocher, which includes Cosnois Stéphane Robineau.
For Spain and Christian Andriantseheno, it’s over. Even by pocketing the 10 points of victory in Nevers.
The draw announces an explosive quarter-final between Quintais, Marzyat Emmanuel Lucien team, and… Montoro, absent from the start due to a scooter accident. The winners will have everything to gain, the losers will have to hope, at the same time, for a misstep by Bonetto against Italy, under penalty of seeing the door to Romans-sur-Isère (August 29, 30 and 31) close.
Thursday August 25
9 a.m. Quarter-finals: Andriantseheno-Bauer-Randriamanatany against Rocher (Robineau-Lacroix-Cortès); Quintais-Suchaud-Hureau against Montoro (Sarrio-Puccinelli-Malbec); Italy (Rizzi-Cometto-Cocciolo) against Bonetto-Luchessi-Feltain; Spain (Alejandro Cardenas-Escacho-Puigserver) against Nevers.
11 a.m. Ranking games for the quarter-final losers.
2 p.m. First semi-final.
Not before 3:30 p.m. Second semi-final.
Not before 5 p.m. Final.