The champion of France and Europe has not played at home with his internationals for two and a half months. This Sunday meeting is an opportunity to relaunch the dynamic.
The little sentence was signed Romain Ntamack after the victory in Cardiff on December 11, on the occasion of the first day of the Champions Cup : “We can’t wait to find our supporters.” Reference to the receipt of Wasps which loomed eight days later. It must be said that he, like seven other Toulouse internationals who took part in the November tour with the France team, had not set foot on Ernest-Wallon’s lawn since… October 23 and a success against Castres (41 – 0) for the 8th day of the Top 14. The problem? It is because the duel against the English had been canceled two days before the meeting, due to the Covid epidemic. But the worst was to come since, the following week, the Rouge et Noirs still hoped to reconnect with their public, this time in a stadium heated to white during the “Boxing Day” with 33,000 tickets sold for the clash against the French Stadium. . There, the meeting was postponed only ten hours before the kick-off, by a decision of the NRL which did not fail to cringe some teeth on the side of the Toulouse Stadium, in the face of the Covid cases which affected the Parisian workforce. This is how Ugo Mola’s men did not resume competition until last week in Clermont, so outside. And above all this is how the “Blues” of the group have still not evolved at home for two and a half months.
Indeed, in the meantime, the champions of France and Europe had to do without their residents of Marcoussis to beat Perpignan (37-15) on November 6, then to overcome with difficulty Brive (18-11) on the 27 November. That day, it should be noted that Thibaud Flament was on the lawn to compensate for the absences of the Arnold brothers or Joe Tekori in the second line, like Thomas Ramos and Dorian Aldegheri who had been called up by the staff of the XV of France this fall. without being lined up once on a scoresheet.
The benchmark match against Castres
In total, there are therefore eight stadion players who have not been products at home since the end of October: Baille, Marchand, Mauvaka, Cros, Jelonch, Dupont, Ntamack and Lebel. Not the least in this case … Statistics may be anecdote in the eyes of some but, however, it is not that much. Because, facing the CO on this famous October 23, the Toulouse Stadium had quite simply published its reference score for the season. It has been said several times by members of the management that after an ultra-shortened summer preparation, this team had prioritized the basics of its game during the first part of the exercise. It has been written here and there that she was not as in place offensively as during her fabulous 2020-2021 epic. Faced with the Tarn neighbor, she had always and very clearly taken a step forward in her production to give birth to a collective demonstration, which had left the opposing manager Pierre-Henry Broncan in admiration: “We ran into a full Toulouse and, when it does, I’m not sure he lost a lot of games. We faced the real European champion. Unfortunately, there was not much to deal with this Toulouse. “ Since then, between the compulsory vacations to be granted to internationals (which were recorded before the European period) and the reports, the Toulouse ogre has not regained its benchmarks or its effectiveness. Except in Cardiff where, in a special meeting, he finally aligned his best possible starting XV. It was almost the case in Clermont, but Antoine Dupont was still missing …
So, this Sunday evening, the Stadists must this time (if fate does not intervene yet!) Present themselves in their den of Ernest-Wallon with the vast majority of their living forces, and with the hope of ‘evacuate all the frustrations accumulated in recent weeks. With also the intention of taking advantage of the presence of the executives – who will return to the selection at the end of January – to find the dazzling rhythm seen against Castres in October and (re) initiate a positive dynamic. Clearly, despite a number of spectators limited to 5,000 people in the stands, the Toulouse Stadium just wants to be itself.