Toulouse and La Rochelle, a very hard fight before the quarterfinals of the European Cup

It was a tough, physical and tight match. Toulouse and La Rochelle may not have rediscovered the rugby that drove them to the European Cup final and the Top 14 last season, but the intensity they put into the fight for a single regular season match of the Championship , this Saturday evening, was worthy of a final phase meeting.

In a hyper-undecided competition, where the slightest defeat can move from 3rd to 7th place in the classification (isn’t it La Rochelle?), Both teams knew this essential part in the race for the classification. But not only that. It could also serve as an ideal springboard for them to change in the best possible way towards these quarter-finals of the European Cup which will be played next weekend in Dublin against Munster (via Toulouse) and against Montpellier in Marcel-Deflandre. (for La Rochelle).

Toulouse loves these matches of life or death

“There was an intensity at the European Cup level, recognizes Toulouse coach Laurent Thuéry. It was a great match against a very good team that came with intentions. He put us in the bathroom for the European Cup. But it will be necessary to recover well because both teams have left energy. Now focus on Ireland and Munster. There will also be a big challenge ahead. »

It’s crazy how the Stade Toulousain loves these life or death matches. The higher the level, the higher the bet, the more it regains its predatory clinical virtues. On Saturday, in a first period where he was more abused than the other way around, he planted two tries on his only two occasions, while Ihaia West, the first player of La Rochelle, lost 6 points en route with two penalties in his ropes.

Toulouse scored first immediately after fitting their rival (Dulin, 4th), in a counterattack by their midfielder Antoine Dupont who read perfectly the attempt to unmark Brice Dulin (6th). And the second on a typical action of Toulouse, with passes to the defense, with the line, and a magnificent conclusion of the lateral Thibaud Flament tearing to 30 meters the opposite defense like a center of three quarters (19th).

“The first test comes from our video analysis of the week, says winger Thomas Ramos. We have seen that the Rochelais may have had a defect on this side. The second comes from a good action, revealing what the game of the Stade Toulousain is. »

“This defeat will be good for the group, I can’t wait for Saturday”

Ronan O’Gara, manager of La Rochelle

The red-black club has also found what it lacked lately: a bit of luck. An example? This unlikely “50-22” found by Ramos just after intercepting a pass from La Rochelle n ° 8 Grégory Alldritt from 22 m high. “I just lost an air duel, decipher the person concerned. At that point in the game (68th), we had to hold on, because it wouldn’t have been good to get points. I saw Greg with the ball and tracked down his fake look that I’m starting to get to know a bit. I thought I was going to pass and I managed to intercept. Behind me, I’m a little lucky with the kick. I have the good rebound, (Dilline) Leyds (the last defender) it’s on the ground, I really have it all to myself. We haven’t had the rebounds for ourselves in a long time. »

And La Rochelle, in all this? Defeated for the sixth time in a row against the same rival (23-16), he oscillated between frustration and hope at the end of the match. “We see that we can compete with this team from Toulouse, but we still have something to gain. sighs La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara. We got a great try (after two subtle stitches by Rhule and Leyds) and sixty seconds later, the 7-7! Antoine Dupont hunts like a dog and here we are … We came to win and we left with 0 points. But this defeat will be good for this group. I can’t wait for Saturday. »

Saturday will therefore be the European quarterfinals against Montpellier. “We have to use this match against Toulouse, cross Gregory Alldritt. There is no reduction because it is far from a setback. This defeat is perhaps better than a victory, even because it generates a lot of frustration. And this frustration, we can evict it next weekend against Montpellier in front of our audience. »

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