If Stade Toulouse logically lost on Friday night, it’s partly due to the bankruptcy of some of its executives, who came across as utterly blunt.
† You don’t always have to wait for Antoine Dupont to cross the field. Without even waiting to be questioned on the subject, Stade Toulousain manager Ugo Mola came to the rescue of his executives. As an observation that he undoubtedly shares and that jumped out at everyone’s eyes. Friday evening, in the oven of Nice, the new golden generation of Toulouse rugby failed, the one that allowed the XV of France to reconnect with a glorious past.
An example ? The yellow card was given by whore Julien Marchand just before half-time. A cynical and gross mistake, unnecessary and harmful. † The second yellow card is too much, snapped Mola. When we aim for discipline and the game of pressure as the keys to this meeting, we cannot end up with seven penalty kicks called and two yellow cards in the first period. †
“We’re going to test our character to bounce back”
Julien Marchand is not the only one missing his game. Of course, Antoine Dupont, so sparkling, so decisive, against Stade Rochelais a week earlier cannot be ignored. But how can you blame the best player in the world, probably physically at the end of his life after an endless season of juggling France’s XV, and his club’s outspoken goal of keeping its Champions Cup double – Bouclier de Brennus? How to blame players who have reacted to key moments so far.
Do we need to recall the successes achieved in Ulster and Munster to reach the semi-finals of the Champions Cup? † My collective was put under the extinguisher of Castrese, Mola, rightly so. Afterwards, there are also five missed points at the foot. These matches are for nothing. We were blunt at key moments. †
And to add: The missed penalty by Thomas (Ramos), who scores exceptionally, also hurts. We would have been back in front five minutes before the end. We are not going to rewrite history. I remain very proud of this group. We are going to test our character to come back after this failed season for some and two semifinals for others. Maybe next year we should handle the freshness of our big players better. “And for good reason.
The lack of clarity of players now used to big events can only be expressed through physical and mental wear and tear. The Castres opening half Benjamin Urdapilleta, known for his candor, said nothing else after the meeting: ” We knew that freshness would be an important factor. And it was. When we saw the mistakes made over the minutes, we felt doubt rise in them. We saw it in their faces. †
And if there is another leader who has failed in spite of himself, it is undoubtedly François Cros. Withdrawn due to injury, his presence probably would have been comforting as the boat rocked hard. But with if…