After a difficult season, during which he went through so many emotions and ended up giving up his Champions Cup title before securing his place in the Top 14, the team from Toulouse hit Languedoc on Saturday. evening. Full of authority, the double head of Brennus dominated the European champion and proved that he kept sacred resources.
If there’s one lesson to be learned from this bombing, it’s that champions are still champions. Toulouse are still in the Top 14, at least until Friday evening and their semi-final against Castres. All this to say that, despite a rocky season during which they went through all the states and ended up giving up their European title, the Rouge et Noir are still outstanding competitors. This was still true when they received La Rochelle, the last winners of the Champions Cup, perhaps the only team capable of challenging their supremacy over French rugby … “Ugo used it to motivate us,” smiles Peato Mauvaka. We know what we want and what we are worth. »
This was seen from the beginning Saturday evening. “When you face this type of team, which arrives with confidence after its coronation, you want to prove that you are at home.says Thomas Ramos. Also, in front of you, you will respond to this great pack. We did a good first half, which allowed us to move forward. » Ugo Mola likes: “ We won a great team. After a European degree, it brings you an almost unconscious enthusiasm. My fear was to compete in energy. Rugby is just that and the ability to face each other. Toulouse faced La Rochelle. »
Until he knocked out the training in the shape of the moment and played the penalties quickly with his hand, to suffocate him. “It simply came to our notice thenRamos continues. It was by feeling, at that moment. We wanted to move them to find spaces. There’s one I hit and Antoine scores from behind. We were lucky. »
In fact, Toulouse even got its best half at the best of times. The brand of grains. Aside from the European feats at Ulster and Munster (before falling halfway to Leinster), the Stadistes had insisted on the impossibility of leaving such a competition as soon as possible, as well as defending the title. . There it is the same. “We talked about it, we didn’t want to be on holiday after a quarter-final at home,” said Ramos. During the week we said it was not our turn. We were hungry. They had already had a successful season and we lost the European title. We don’t want to miss the second. We can look each other in the eye, we played a great game. »
On Saturday, the Toulouse stadium took off its gala clothes, contrasting the Rochelais with its strengths. And trusting in the genius of his strong men. The best example? Antoine Dupont, obviously. Perhaps a little less attractive in recent weeks (and again …), it was stratospheric, especially in the first two tests.
“He is the one who is able to tilt his team to the right, alonesays Ronan O’Gara, the opposing coach. There is no one close to your level in a field. » Mola, his own manager, at the same wavelength: “As the best player in the world he is, he always misses when he is 50 or 60 percent. But compared to whom? Because with 60%, Antoine Dupont is still the best half scrum in the Top 14 and in Europe. There, I may not have had 100% Antoine, but still not far off in the first half (smiles). »
Then the technician makes this confession: “He passed 10, he was in the back position. I have a dream with him, it is to make him carry all possible bibs behind him at the Stade de Toulouse. We will try to erase other publications.” In any case, when the captain of the blues evolves at such a level, Toulouse is obviously not the same team.
Ramos: “It escapes our hands”
Here, Dupont and his teammates will continue there to try to afford a third consecutive Brennus, which would place this band a little more in the club’s legend. “ I am convinced that I am blessed by the gods to be the coach of this generationadmitted Ugo Mola. Some knew it after winning or had plans. I don’t have any. I’m lucky enough to coach fantastic guys. […] Even in preparation for Friday, they did things to me … I go home and think to myself that they are disconcerting. They don’t care. They are comfortable, they go fast, they are strong. They just have to put things in order. »
When this is the case, this formation is a hellish machine. Although the manager also puts in context: “ My players are amazing because they are mostly twenty-five or twenty-six years old … The two or three weeks of recovery, without offending Biarritz, when you have a group that is this age, is worth the gold. »
A saving regeneration, after several suffocating months, between canceled matches, postponements, duplicates and the use of countless internationals, before going to snatch the classification. But over the last eight days, the counters have been reset to zero. And the staff realized, in the middle of last week, that the physical data of the troops had never been so high … “ We are on the final stretch and everyone wants to act, playsays Ramos. It takes a lot of effort in training, even bodybuilding. It’s good to work like this. We’ve been doing this for a few years now when we started the final stages and so far we’ve been doing pretty well. »
Two more matches to pay back the Holy Grail. “ We’re coming off three pretty extraordinary seasons and here we are in the last fourMola breathes. But so far, it only gives us the right to play a half against the first in the league. From now on, we will have to face the Castres that will be as fresh as the cockroach. » And to promise: “We will have the energy. Knowing that they also have the talent, the experience, the audacity and now the confidence.