Jean-Baptiste has been working with Soulcial Trust since the launch of the Adaptive Rugby activity almost 2 years ago.

This hardworking and passionnate former professional rugby player is now happy to coach our teams. All he wants is to share and transmit his passion for rugby to the students, and take them at their best level. He is very close to them, and they all trust and respect him. They developed a relationship since the beginning of the activity (more information about how it started here). We asked him a few questions to know more about his background and projects!

Hello Jean-Baptiste, can you please introduce yourself?

I am Jean Baptiste Desèze, I am French (from Southwest), and I am in Cambodia since 20 years. I was part of the team who started rugby in Cambodia, and since then I never stopped to teach and play! Now, I am a little bit too old to play… I still play, but with old guys (laughs). I really enjoy to teach and share what rugby brought me: fighting spirit, team spirit, and a lot of values.

As their trainer, what are the positive effects of rugby upon the kids?

There is a lot! They learn about life in society, to respect the rules, and that they can’t play alone, because if they start to play alone, the sanction comes very fast, and very hard! (laughs). So they learn this, to play together, the team spirit, and to make efforts. It means that if you are tired and you just stop to run, the other ones have to do much more, especially at seven, the field is still 100 meters long. So if one stops to run, whatever the reason, the other ones can’t follow. Playing rugby teaches you to push your limits.

What are the next goals you would like to reach?

It could be great that one of our players, especially one of the mutes and deafs, play with the national team. It would be a really big achievement for all of us.

Is there any kids that are standing out of the group?

Yes, some of them are very good, especially one from Krousar Thmey, he is very strong. We just have to teach him how to be less “physically involved”, and once he learned to control himself more, he will be a very good player. Another teammate from Sunrise also is very fast, tackles very well, and already have the good vision of the game. I hope they will keep doing a good job and we will make everything that we could to make great things happen!

And the last question, would you like to share your best memory as a trainer so far?

My best memory was the first international game in Hong Kong, where the Cambodia team got a standing ovation. We played an opening game for World Cup selection against Macau. The differences between the players were huge: 35 kilos of difference per player, it is a lot! But we played equal during 60 minutes. And after they told us that they were afraid to lose, so they closed the game, because every time they opened, they lost the ball. It was a very good game, and a unique feeling because in Hong Kong, you have to cross the field to go to the changing room or the house club. Then, all the people in the stadium stood up and started to applause. The referees stopped the ongoing game and all the players applauded too. It was really impressive and a great reward for a small team like Cambodia at that time!

We wish all the best to Jean-Baptiste! We hope he will keep doing an amazing work with the players, and keep creating vocations and memories with them! We are thankful to have such an involved and dedicated man in our team, who helps us to give access to sports to people with disabilities in Cambodia!

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