Guitoune moving to a big club at the right time

Date published: July 5 2016

New Toulouse signing Sofiane Guitoune believes he is more prepared for a move to a big club now at 27 than he would have been in the past.

The France international left Bordeaux-Bègles at the end of last season to join the four-time European champions.

Guitoune is about to embark on a new chapter with the fifth club of his career already, having previously played for Agen, Albi, Perpignan and UBB.

"At 27, it's time to think big," Guitoune told Rugbyrama.

"When you're a player, you want to play. Stade Toulousain want to build, with young people arriving. The club regularly makes the play-offs. This move is a new challenge, a very exciting one.

"Today, I feel able to compete. Big clubs have contacted me in the past, but before I was not ready. Now I am."

Guitoune's exit from Bordeaux-Bègles could have gone better, admitting to a breakdown in communications between himself and the club's boss, Raphaël Ibanez.

He explained: "It's been a very frustrating season. It was hard, because there was not necessarily a dialogue with the head coach [Ibanez], there was never any discussion between us. Only [assistant coach] Émile Ntamack came to see me before my last game."

Before he gets underway at Toulouse, however, Guitoune is trying to crack the France Sevens squad for the Olympic Games in Rio.

With five Tests caps and three tries to his name, the last of which came at the Rugby World Cup last year against Romania, Guitoune is used to rugby at the highest level but admits that the fitness training has been intense.

"It's been ok, even if the first three weeks were tough physically. The first was particularly complicated: it's been over a month since I played rugby," Guitoune said.

"Anyway, it's good to be involved; I did not expect at all to be in this group. Then, there was a problem with my club, who did not release me for the Sevens.

"Now that I'm here I want to make it to the end! I'm a competitor. The squad is decided around July 11. It is up to me to impose myself. I hope to give the coach a headache!

"A competition like this, it makes you want to be part of it. At the Olympics, everyone can beat everyone, as we have seen with Spain who won against Samoa in the qualification process."