AFTER toing and froing between Wales and France for most of his career, Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier hopes to now finally make a home in the Broad Acres.
The Welsh-born scrum-half is one of Yorkshire Carnegie’s new signings ahead of the Championship season which starts later this month.
At 25, he has packed a lot into his career already, including regular training with Jonny Wilkinson when the England World Cup winner played in France with Toulon.
Bruzulier explained: “I’m half-Welsh, half-French which is an interesting one.
“My mother’s Welsh and dad’s French and that’s one of the reasons I went out there.
“I lived by my grandparents and it worked out really well.
It was just time to come home and start a new challenge which I’m doing with Carnegie.Jean-Baptiste Bruzulier
“I played my age grade rugby in Cardiff, then moved to Bristol with college before playing in London and then moving to France.
“I came back here (with Worcester) before going back to France for a second time which was great to experience it as a family with my wife and kids.
“But, after two years, it was just time to come home and start a new challenge which I’m doing with Carnegie.”
A former Saracens academy player, Bruzulier featured with second division club Le Pays d’Aix in his first spell across the channel – when he was able to work with Wilkinson – and, more recently, for Nevers.
“Where we lived it was a bit dark,” he added.
“It was the centre of France and there was not much to do.
“We used to live down in the south of France which was just gorgeous to a different level.
“Here we live in Cas – Cas Vegas as it’s called! – and we love it. There’s so many things to do for the kids and my wife and they really, really love the place.
“I’ve settled in well at Carnegie; they’re a great bunch of boys, training’s going really well and we’re just looking forward to the first game.”
Given Alex Davies joined Bath and Will Homer moved on to Jersey Reds, Bruzulier is set to start the season as Carnegie’s senior No9 with teenager Oliver Fox offering support. With head coach Jimmy Lowes having left by mutual agreement at the start of June, forwards coach Steve Boden has taken over the reins with incoming director of rugby Chris Stirling overseeing the entire football operation.
On a reduced budget, Carnegie finished sixth last term, unable to make any sort of challenge against Bristol who eventually eased to promotion.
Relegated London Irish are overwhelming favourites to win an immediate return this time around as the Championship landscape gets more difficult for clubs like Carnegie who operate with a lean squad again.
But Bruzulier insisted: “We’re not focusing on budget. We know we’ve got such a tight group of boys and great coaching staff. We just want to travel as far as we can go. We want to shock ourselves at how far we can go in this league.
“We have a small group but we all want to work together tightly and we’re all looking forward to it to see how far we can actually go.”
Bruzulier actually has experience of winning promotion out of the Championship.
With Worcester’s regular No9s injured or banned, he was drafted in from their second team for the 2015 semi-final win over London Scottish and then the dramatic final success over Bristol.
Yorkshire Carnegie’s promotion chances may be in the longer-term but eventually Bruzulier hopes to repeat the feat again.