Top 14. Stade Toulousain – Castres: So who is number 1?

the essential
Castres, number one in the regular season, and Stade Toulousain, number one current champions, will face off in the semi-finals on Friday evening in Nice. Hot in front.

The crazy races of Antoine Dupont, of course. But to become aware of the hunger that cheered the Stade Toulousain players on Saturday evening, there is this action by Matthis Lebel just minutes from the end, when the Toulouse winger throws Brice Dulin in contact and lets his rage against the bleachers. Yes, the stadium was hungry. Even with a lot of hunger. Come on, since you want Dupont, here’s the Dupont. But this time in defender mode. In the second half, Toulouse’s half-mix is ​​confused with the immense Will Skelton. It warms up two or three seconds between the two players, then Antoine Dupont will be replaced and deliver a big candy to a La Rochelle player a few seconds later. Anger again. Or energy for Ugo Mola: “Since we’ve been there, we all know that when you win a European Cup, you have an almost unconscious form of energy and enthusiasm that allows you to do amazing things. My fear was to compete. because rugby is just energy, revolt and the ability to face each other. second complicated period because we crawled a little. ”
Nothing has been invented at the Stadium, but when the finals come, he is often hungry and likes to take out the good old recipes: conquest, defense (13 tackles for the Elstadt in the first period) and a touch of genius in the decisive service. efficiency.
The stage was well known, but La Rochelle, the European champion as it was, could not write another one. For lack of having that energy or that rage. Ronan O’Gara could only acknowledge this: “We have learned a lesson in combativeness and rucksacks. There was no comparison, Toulouse was better than us. The tactic was to move Toulouse but we neglected the fight and I take it on my own. “.
So here you have the Stadium in the semifinals at the end of a season where Covid and the doubloons pumped a monstrous energy from him (we’ll get back to it) and took him to the edge of the road exit. The magic of the final stages makes all this go backwards. That the weekend of rest during the final of the European Cup and the match against Biarritz allowed to regenerate the bodies, the heads.
If many observers judged it to be a final before the letter, the final stages have often generated their share of surprises. And if it is always difficult to designate a favorite in the semifinals, it is even more so when it comes to a derby. And not a derby with a 200-kilometer drop. It’s not an derby in Occitania. Not the Midi-Pyrénées. Each side will designate the other as a favorite during the week. It remains that the number 1 of the regular phase is called Castres. Finishing in this position is not neutral and implies the greatest respect from the club number 1 (at shield level) of the last two seasons. But to tell the truth, the Stadium does not want to hear about the defenders. At the beginning of each season, he restarts the counters and sets off again in search of a new title. But on Friday evening, at the end of the match, there will only be a number 1. The CO or the Stadium? So who is it, who is it? As the fashion song proclaims.

Without François Cros

François Cros’ third start line due to injury is very uncertain for the semifinals. In fact, he suffers from a knee (internal lateral ligament affected?). For this meeting with the CO, the Stadium will recover Charlie Faumuina whose sanction has ended. The all-black pillar will replace the lost Paul Mallez (dislocation of the shoulder). Please note that Rodrigue Neti has started a time trial and may return earlier than expected. From the semifinals?

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