The Tarnais dominated the Reds and Blacks, two-time defending champions, this Friday in the semifinals in Nice (24-18). Next week they will challenge Montpellier or UBB for a sixth Brennus.
Special envoy to Nice
A tough, tense and breathless match. But in the end, it was Castres Olympique, the sensation of the regular season, who doubled the Stade Tolousain (24-18). Ugo Mola’s players have suffered and have not been able to reverse the trend this Friday against the strong and determined Castres, who therefore have an appointment with Montpellier or UBB in the final. A real match of the final phase!
Castres, the feeling of the year
For the CO, the current season was already historic with a regular phase completed for the first time at the helm (ranking here). Excessive pressure for the Tarnais? At all, Pierre-Henry Broncan’s players now seemed to think the job was done and acted more defensively, just waiting for the ref to blow the final whistle. The Castres, less numerous but much noisier, let their joy explode on the Allianz Riviera. Between 2018 and 2019, the CO had become the doom of its neighbor and rival, winning five times in a row. The Tolosans no longer seemed to have a complex. Not this year at the crucial moment, they gave way in the most important confrontation of the season between the two rivals and neighbors.
Toulouse will not defend its title
The two-time French champion has fallen. One week after their magnificent win against La Rochelle in the play-offs, Stade Toulousain could not keep up with Castres Olympique in the semifinals of the Top 14. The Rouge et Noir will not have a chance to try the step of three (after the coronations of 2019 and 2021) against Montpellier or Bordeaux-Bègles that face this Saturday (21 h). Antoine Dupont’s teammates seemed to have evacuated the disappointment of his elimination in the Champions League semi-final against Leinster, to gain momentum in the final phase of the Top 14. Missing. Toulouse will not be able to try to raise a 22nd Brennus shield. And they haven’t proved the statistics wrong: until then, they had never been crowned champions of France in the play-offs. This year has been the case again.
Castrous roughness against the speed of Toulouse
The contrast of style was evident. Very striking. On the one hand, Toulouse players who love open spaces. On the other, rough and combative Castres. And from the start, the Stadium set the tone by multiplying attacks and interval shots. The audacity was quickly rewarded with a sumptuous test concluded by Matthis Lebel (2nd). And, later, Ugo Mola’s players created the most dangerous, frankest opportunities. But, after a laborious start, the Castres were able to raise the bar, miss their rivals – yellow cards for Rory Arnold (22nd) and Julien Marchand (37th) – and return to the game thanks to the boot of Urdapileta (10th). -6, 28). They took the lead at the break (10-9), despite a denied try to Palis after a shot from his first goal. And he even advanced after returning from the locker room scoring through Arata (43rd). Before the awakening of Toulouse symbolized by the test of Romain Ntamack (48th). But in the fierce trench warfare that took place in Nice, the forwards of Toulouse – although sometimes congested – were able to face the challenge imposed by the CO. Each team goes one by one, for a goal-scoring duel between Ramos and Urdapilleta. Before the victory test, of all beauty, marked by Dumora (76th). Logically given the physiognomy of the party.
Ntamack will not have been enough
Great players shine in big games, they say. An adage that was re-checked on Friday with Romain Ntamack. The first part of the Stade Tolousain and the XV of France came to light, leading the maneuver to perfection and playing right in Nice. Returning from the Six Nations Tournament, he had seemed bored, often out of it. But, like his friend Antoine Dupont in the fight, the two friends have regained their health as the final sprint approaches. Since the start of the match, Ntamack has given a few boosts to Tarn’s defense, even trying (but missing) a loss at the start of the match (14th). Even the first blue has scored an unstoppable try (48th) starting the military defense. A breath of fresh air more than precious when his team knew less well a shot. Toulouse’s first goalkeeper, with his flashes and his management of the match, could have been one of the great architects of the Stade Tolousain’s victory. Except the Rouge et Noir stumbled upon the carpet in Nice. But Ntamack didn’t deserve it.
SEE ALSO – Karim Benzema’s best goals with Real Madrid