In Lyon, third before the start of the weekend, Toulouse will see adversity rise a notch. To maintain their invincibility, it will be necessary to pull out all the stops.
They all want his skin. Very active once the weekend comes, as formidable as it is insatiable, he inspires both fascination for his presence and fear for his dangerousness but always continues a certain excitement at the idea of measuring himself against it. We are not talking about Lou but about Stade Toulousain. An ogre who has so far taken in everything that has happened in his path despite the huge sign that sticks to his skin since his double Top 14-European Cup last spring.
Hunting for records is not an obsession
“We were warned at the start of the season that each match would be a bit like a derby, that each team would aim to bring us down, admits Thibaud Flament. Lyon, it will be a big test, a good challenge. It ‘s going to be a big test. is a team that produces good play, which has fairly high statistics in several areas of play on a surface on which we are a little less used to playing. “
On the synthetic of Gerland, facing “the second biggest team that we will face with La Rochelle” and which has “really a bunch of very efficient forwards, rather conquering, aggressive” according to Jean Bouilhou, the Toulouse will aim for a seventh success this season. This could allow them to equal, over two seasons this time, their record for consecutive wins in the Top 14 (11) and get closer to that existing since the start of a season (9).
A quest for records that remains “in the back of his mind” according to Flament, without turning into obsession. “This is not the main source of motivation, continues the second row. Otherwise, we will lose sight of the objective of playing well and that could add additional pressure to us which does not really need to be. “
Comments corroborated by the coach of the forwards: “We are tracing our path. Everyone still has the end of victories, of play, of rugby and it transpires in all the strata of the club. Our ambition is to have fun playing rugby and continuing to win the matches. “
And what does it matter if these victories leave a taste of unfinished business for the time being. Responding politely to a question about the unsuccessful side of the first six games, the former third line shows some annoyance with a courteous clarification: “There are things accomplished in our games. Set up the offensive game, this is what takes the most time and we missed it due to our late recovery. Nevertheless, when we go into detail, there are very successful things, especially in defense, on the state of play. spirit, the depth of the squad, in conquest. I can understand the impression we give but in the end, we have six victories which are due to good performances. Otherwise, we would have lost these matches… “
The shadow of the blues
However, facing a team that has beaten in their last three meetings and who like them try the best attack (19), the Toulouse will have to raise their level on a fast surface able to suit them but which will also put their defense, keystone of their start to the season, to the test. With this in mind, the upcoming announcement of the 42 Blues for the fall tests should help increase the level of involvement of the (many) contenders. “I think the players are thinking about it, loose Bouilhou. They won’t say it but for some who are in balance, they know that a good performance will work in their favor.” And necessarily that of their club …