Latest change: the schedule. A brutille these days. Racing 92 will therefore face the LOU at home in Lyon, this Sunday evening at 9:05 p.m., instead of 6 p.m. The Montpellier – Toulon match being postponed for about twenty positive cases in the Var ranks, it was necessary to fill the box for the first part of the evening left free for TV. The Ciel et Blancs, like most of the Top 14 clubs for that matter, are not (more) that close. “We are no longer in adaptation at the moment but in innovation”, confides Laurent Travers, the Ile-de-France manager.
Until Friday night, he wasn’t even sure he could field a team against Lyon. But the new battery of tests, limited to 48 hours from the meeting as required by the new protocol decreed by the National Rugby League, did not reveal any contagion within a workforce already affected by Covid-19. New Year’s Eve, or what remains of it, therefore took place in calm and relative serenity. Relative only because Racing is advancing in the fog determined by the Omicron variant.
The calendar for the month of December totally upset
His last match dates back to December 10 in the European Cup (45-14 victory at Northampton). Since then, the Ile-de-France club have won by forfeit against the Ospreys, then they saw the reception of Pau in the Top 14 postponed last Monday. For two reasons: around ten cases of Covid-19 within each workforce.
Three weeks without playing for a battered team in the league and lacking benchmarks, that’s a lot. It is even more so when players have contact and negatives are isolated at home for a week with individual physical exercises as the only preparation. “We did not resume training until late Tuesday evening, when the feedback from the tests carried out showed that there were no new cases,” says Laurent Travers. We know our problem very well: trying to maintain the level displayed at Northampton, while being aware that we lack consistency in Top 14. “
Eighth in the standings after twelve contested days, Racing comes out of three consecutive defeats at Brive (12-10), against Bordeaux-Bègles (37-14) then at Castres (25-3). There is now an urgent need to earn points. And Lyon is not necessarily the ideal place for that. Especially since the LOU did not cut, him, in December.
“We have fourteen games left and we have to win nine or ten to be sure of qualifying for the finals,” said the sky-and-white manager. And we have trips to La Rochelle, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Montpellier. This is our challenge. Hence the importance of this trip to the capital of the Gauls, regardless of the kick-off time.
Referee: M. Praderie.
Lyon: Arnold – Mignot, Regard, Ngatai, Tuisova – (o) Berdeu, (m) Pélissié – Saginadze, Taufua (cap.), Cretin – R. Taofifenua, Lambey – Bamba, G. Marchand, Rey. Entr. : Mignoni.
Racing 92: D. Taofifenua – Laitre, Vakatawa, Chavancy (cap.), Imhoff – (o) Gibert, (m) Machenaud – Baudonne, Hemery, Lauret – Le Roux, Jones – Oz, Chat, Gogichashvili. Entr. : Through.