Pro D2 – Montauban: 15 days and a play-off match to save a season

Pro D2 – Montauban: 15 days and a play-off match to save a season
Pro D2 – Montauban: 15 days and a play-off match to save a season

After the disappointment of a fifteenth place at the end of the regular phase, the USM had to quickly switch to preparing for its play-off against Narbonne (Sunday, 3 p.m.). Fifteen days to try to save this season over 80 minutes.

At the final whistle of the 30e Pro D2 day, Montauban could no longer deny the obvious. This play-off against the losing finalist of Nationale had become the only possible outcome to try to maintain a place in the second division. The meeting is set in Narbonne, this Sunday afternoon. So we had to quickly digest a nightmarish end to the season to switch to this last chance. Pierre Philippe Lafond, manager of USM explains: “We quickly looked ahead to the match against Narbonne. The challenge is to prepare well. We have to play this match and go there to perform well. We were lucky to have two weeks to prepare for it. . Pressure or no pressure. Favorite or not favorite… What interests me is that we arrive ready and implement what we have planned..

And these fifteen days were more than precious. Both for the staff, who were able to prepare as well as possible for this last confrontation, and for the players who needed to regenerate more than ever: “We had a small break. The aim of these few days was above all to think of something else to come back ready, with an empty head, to play a good rugby match“, confirms Kyllian Ringuet, Montalban third row. A mental freshness which seems essential in the aftermath of a trying season and at the dawn of playing for survival: “The important thing is what’s going on in your head. If you’re mentally ready, you’re physically ready.”specifies the manager and forward coach.

Reilhac: “Don’t get caught up in the hype of the match”

Because in addition to carrying the weight of the future of an entire club on your shoulders, there is also an element of the unknown with this play-off which will take place for the first time between a Pro D2 and National team. “It’s true that we have an easier time following the Top 14 and the Pro D2. The National is not broadcast or barely broadcast so, over the season, we don’t really know the level of Narbonne. We all have watched the final and saw some passages from other matches but ultimately we don’t know exactly what to expect, what we do know is that they play a lot!” assures center Yvan Reilhac.

Despite everything, the men of “PP” Lafond know what to expect: “It’s a team that plays a lot. It’s going to be a great rugby match,” affirms the young third row. On this point, all Sapiacans agree. To make the difference it will be necessary, among other things, to rely on a pack that has gained confidence in recent weeks and an impregnable defense. The USM vice-captain adds: “I know that in Pro D2 we have a little more effective playing time than in National. Perhaps that will be one of the keys to this match but it is also up to us to play on that and not not get caught on the enthusiasm of the match and the supporters We have analyzed the strong points and the weak points. We will of course try to take them on their weak points. And it will be necessary at the risk of being only 80 minutes from the Nationale…

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