Monday, April 6, 2015

Onward to Oxford: Brussels Qwaffles

As part of our efforts to preview all 32 teams competing in the European Quidditch Cup (EQC), the Quidditch Post is chatting with representatives from each team. Today we spoke with Tanghi Burlion, captain of the Brussels Qwaffles.

Photo by: Matthias Anthonis
Quidditch Post: The Brussels Qwaffles surprised a lot of people by winning Benelux Cup. What did that mean to the team?
Tanghi: It meant a lot. To be honest, the Dodos are playing a way more efficient game than us, and they're more athletic in general. We have many players for whom quidditch is the first sport they're really practicing. We are not that competitive, but we try to improve and do our best while keeping our sportsmanship and trying to play fair in every circumstance. So being "Champion des BĂȘnets" feels like a reward for our efforts.

QP: What are your goals for EQC?
Tanghi: I think we have two main goals: first, we don't want to go all the way to Oxford for nothing. Of course we go there to share the hype too, but we want to play as much as possible, and the only way for that to happen is to win our matches. The first goal would be to finish first in our bracket on Day One to be sure we get to play on Day Two, thus achieving our second goal, which is to show people one doesn't need to be over-competitive to be good. And that waffles are sweet.

QP: What will it take to have that level of success?
Tanghi: We'll have to work a lot on our synergy. Our roster is really different from the one we had at Benelux Cup; some of our players are not able to come, some newbies are joining, and this changes our habits. We're used to training together, but in real games, especially at this level, it means we'll have to fight every second and that no mistakes are allowed.

QP: Can you talk about the roster composition? Any key players?
Tanghi: I think it is pretty well-balanced regarding the number of chasers and beaters, and it’s a relief to know that we can sub at will and a player won't get exhausted too quickly. We will have to balance the amount of new players and trained players on the field at once. I know I can count on Marc Bourgeois, our captain and keeper; he really knows what he's doing, and the Qwaffles trust him. Also, we rely heavily on Damien Leclaire, who's definitely one of the best beaters I've seen. There's also Jana Meers and Nathan Wilputte, who have both improved a lot in the last few months, and some of our newer players might be surprising as well.

QP: What do you think makes those players so successful?

Tanghi: Well, Marc is a really good keeper (and a strong seeker). When he talks, people listen, and he knows how to set up a defense. Damien's awareness of what's going on the pitch is impressive. The problem is he tries to be everywhere at the same time… and sometimes he manages it. He's a sniper: being far from him never means you're safe, and his bludger-catching skills just drives other beaters crazy. Jana is like this little mosquito you can't get rid of; she can be really annoying when she's in your way, but the worst is when you don't see her anymore because you know she's going to strike. And Nathan is by far the fittest of us all. They are a strong, fast, and long-lasting chaser able to adapt to every game situation.

QP: How would you describe the team's style of play?
Tanghi: Well, it's hard to say because as you know, we will play with a really different set of players. We're usually more of a defensive team with slow attacks. We're working on building our speed.

QP: Is there a particular reason the roster will be so different?
Tanghi: Some of our experienced players are just not able to make it because of personal reasons (work, school, money issues, etc.). For example, Caroline Mailleux (beater), Laura Mailleux (beater and chaser), and Nicola Grosjean (our grizzly-shaped keeper) are all unable to attend. On the other hand, we have some more or less new players who have quickly become enthusiastic about quidditch and will join us for EQC even though they have only played a few games with us.

QP: Do you think that will make the team worse off?
Tanghi: I don't think so. Well, it could, but I think it will just be different. We won't come to Oxford not knowing each other; we have to adapt ourselves and our style, and we're taking that into account in our training. Plus, as I said, the newbies might be surprising.

QP: Is there a particular team you hope to play?
Tanghi: Not just one in particular. Of course, there are some teams we already met and it would be awesome to play them again (like the North Sea Nargles or the Barcelona Eagles). It's such a great chance for our team to play in such a big tournament. I'm looking forward to playing teams from far abroad, like the METU Unicorns.

QP: Thanks, Tanghi; we appreciate your time.
Tanghi: Thanks to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment