WHEN Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier trudged off the pitch at Brickfields 12 months ago he felt he had blown his big chance of making an impression at Worcester Warriors.
“I was awful,” he said. “You get your good and bad days and I was really bad that day.”
But fast forward a year from that dismal display against Plymouth Albion and the 23-year-old arrives at Sixways in buoyant mood following a loan spell at one of the biggest teams in Europe.
It has been quite a turnaround for Bruzulier who went from being third choice scrum half to playing a key role in Worcester’s promotion push and then fulfilling a lifelong ambition to play for Clermont Auvergne.
Bruzulier said this would not have happened without the backing of director of rugby Dean Ryan who trusted him with the number nine jersey for the Greene King IPA Championship play-offs.
“I feel very lucky,” he said.
“It was tough (after the Plymouth game) and if I didn’t play the semi-final or final I would have never have gone to Clermont because they only had those games to look, so everything has just gone step by step from there.”
As well as helping to guide Worcester to the Greene King IPA Championship title, he also captained the club to glory in the British & Irish Cup.
But Bruzulier insisted nothing could have prepared him for his first appearance at the 18,000 capacity Parc des Sports Marcel Michelin.
“For my first game, I revised what to do,” he said. “But when I came out the stadium was packed and I just forgot everything and I made a few mistakes.
“At training you will have 3,000 or 4,00 people watching and after the games you will have thousands of people on the streets. It was just crazy as I had never experienced anything like it.”
Bruzulier, who also got the opportunity to work with France star Morgan Parra, said he felt he had achieved a ‘schoolboy dream’ at Clermont, but he said he was now focused on challenging for his place at Warriors.
“I had a contract back here, so deep down I wanted to come back and do my own thing here until the end of my contract,” he said.
“I owe the coaches a lot for letting me go and for the semi-final and final and I will always fight and give everything I have for the club.
“There is such great competition here. Jonny (Arr) is first, Charlie (Mulchrone) is second and as Luke (Baldwin) is injured I am probably third at the moment, so I have just got to keep my head down and keep progressing.”