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The Olympic Park in the Bisséous district – which became the Pierre-Antoine stadium, then Pierre-Fabre – was still surrounded by fields the first time the Castres Olympique (CO) hosted the Toulouse Stadium, winner 16-0, on the 30th. October 1921.
Henri Daffos was born ten years later. And if the surroundings of the Castres enclosure have since largely given way to urbanization, the old pillar, which defended the two clubs, still remembers, at 92 years, the derbies of the post-war period.
“It was quite tense,” he says. “Rugby back then was not at all the same as it is today. There was only one referee, no video. The game was tough and to put it mildly: the kicks fists often went out in the fray. “
Castres then fought for local supremacy with other closer bell towers: Mazamet, Albi, Graulhet … existed.
It is tinged with a certain romanticism, almost cartoonish, between the sub-prefecture of 40,000 inhabitants and the regional capital with antagonistic approaches to rugby.
“The Toulouse Stadium has traditionally a game made of movement, avoidance, speed. That of the Castres is more based on fundamentals, combat, valor. That’s how they succeed, ”notes Serge Lemaire, one of the“ memories ”of the Rouge et Noir.
According to Grégory Andrès, local correspondent for La Dépêche du Midi and author of several books on the history of rugby, Castres takes pleasure in the posture of the “little one” facing the Toulouse ogre.
“It’s a way of getting the pressure to change sides,” he explains. “If we lose, it’s normal. If we win, it’s an achievement. While the CO, whatever we say, remains a great club. The Pierre-Fabre are a significant support that many would like to have “.
The financial contribution of the pharmaceutical and cosmetics group, the main employer in the department, even at times allows the Tarn club to compete with the Toulouse Stadium on the transfer market.
A big fan of Thomas Castaignède, the patron Pierre Fabre himself came to pick up the “Little Prince” by helicopter in Toulouse in the 1990s.
A “catch of war” badly experienced by the president of Haut-Garonnais at the time, René Bouscatel, who savored his cold “revenge” in 2017 by snatching a certain Antoine Dupont from the rival.
Like him, many players have borrowed over the decades, in one direction or another, the bridge between the two neighbors: Jacques Larzabal, Albert Cigagna, Eric Artiguste, Rémi Lamerat, Iosefa Tekori, Piula Faasalele, Yann David or Anthony Jelonch, the latest.
– Tension, diffusion and adhesive plaster –
Legend has it that Castres players were for a time strictly forbidden to live in Toulouse, which was around 1h15 by road.
A journey that the current Toulouse manager Ugo Mola knows well, who has played and recorded in both clubs. His enmity assumed with his former teammate and Castres counterpart Christophe Urios recently spiced up the derby even more.
To the point of having to organize in 2019, “as a preventive measure”, a joint press conference with the leaders of the two camps in order to calm the tensions, which are increasingly pronounced.
The Castres accused in particular the Toulouse stadium of having deliberately “disseminated to the four corners” of the Ernest-Wallon stadium a few months earlier “to break the atmosphere”, recalls Didier Hardy, president of the Friends of rugby, the largest fan club. Castres.
“Because when we move to Toulouse, we can be heard,” he emphasizes. “It’s a date that we tick in the calendar. The match not to be lost.”
Another “cowardly” had the gift of annoying fans of the CO: someone had taken care on the Brennus Shield reclaimed in 2019 by Toulouse to hide with adhesive plaster the titles won by the Tarn rival. Band-aids on a wooden board.
© 2021 AFP