Top 14. “We don’t have to look for excuses”, says Matthieu Jalibert after the semifinal lost by UBB

We had problems winning, gaining speed … It’s hard to win a game in these conditions. We tried things, we wanted to play them wide, but the conclusion is: we never managed to find solutions. That’s what’s complicated tonight (Saturday, editorial note), it’s a second disappointment after last year’s semifinal (against Toulouse, editorial note).

Is this defeat also part of a form of learning?

It’s a little easy. We can’t say that every …

We had problems winning, gaining speed … It’s hard to win a game in these conditions. We tried things, we wanted to play them wide, but the conclusion is: we never managed to find solutions. That’s what’s complicated tonight (Saturday, editorial note), it’s a second disappointment after last year’s semifinal (against Toulouse, editorial note).

Is this defeat also part of a form of learning?

It’s a little easy. Nor can this be said every year. We have the group to go get something. We just have to be more discriminating with the help we render toward other people. We had learned the lesson from last season, we wanted to take matters into our own hands. But I have the impression that they were more hungry than us, that they were more ready. We endured all the collisions for 80 minutes. We’ve never been able to pick up speed, which is frustrating. Because we know that when we increase our speed, we are dangerous. They had analyzed the pressure on the rucks. They “stuck” us tightly to our foreheads. No photo, we just found ourselves stronger.

This defense left you speechless. Is that your impression?

It’s frustrating, but at least that kind of game allows you to evolve. This is where we see the ability of a number 10 to manage the game. Today I have my share of responsibility for not being able to find the right options, the right game options.

You found more at the end of the game …

Because I went back to the back position where I was more electron free. And because in Montpellier there was fatigue when we were playing to the fullest.

You score an opportunistic try in spite of everything in the first part …

I see that he (Guilhem Guirado, NLDR) leads, that he seeks support and that he makes this risky pass: I take advantage of it. It allows us to pick up. We’ve never been far, but we’ve never really been back.

You were about to record a second attempt that could have changed everything …

François (Trinh-Duc) takes the ball on. Since we had detected that he was dropping the second curtain a bit, I told him to slide it. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the bounce. But since “Jeff” (Poirot) was to blame, he does not regret it, the referee would have reconsidered this action.

You left before returning to the end of the match. What was the idea?

I think Christophe tried to find an alternative by providing François. Maybe also to rest and bring some freshness at the end of the game: he immediately told me he would be back.

What was your instruction at the end of the match?

Pack the game, set the pace. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so.

Isn’t this a summary of your difficulties over the last few months?

It’s true that we had trouble getting our game up and running when it wasn’t in our favor. We were a little stuck in the first half of last week (in the tie against Racing, ed.), And in the end it was settled in the second. This time we came across a team that offered us a lot of struggle. We didn’t have to look for an excuse, we didn’t know how to do what we had planned. We just didn’t respect what we said. That’s what’s disappointing even though in the mood we don’t let go.

For you, there may be other final stages, unlike players like François Trinh-Duc and Louis Picamoles …

For sure. After the Racing match we said it was a source of motivation. It is a disappointment to them. We tried to get them to win a title, we failed. But we gave it our all for them, that’s all I want to remember.

How to start again next season after the episode of tensions that arose as a result of the defeat in Perpignan?

These tensions, it is many of you who also put them (sic): they have never been too much. Things were said in the press, we talked to Christophe. My words after Racing were misinterpreted. I just wanted to say that no matter what was said in the press, it was not our main source of motivation. We never let go of Christophe, there was never a break in the locker room – we were always together. Of course, there was tension. But because we wanted to win and get as far as possible. No need to add boxes either.

Do you need a break now or are you waiting to tour Japan with the French national team?

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