Top 14. Semi-finals, first place, recovery: Toulouse takes stock before La Rochelle

Top 14. Semi-finals, first place, recovery: Toulouse takes stock before La Rochelle
Top 14. Semi-finals, first place, recovery: Toulouse takes stock before La Rochelle

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Thomas Corbet

Published on

May 30, 2024 at 12:19 p.m.

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Carried in particular by an immense Antoine Dupont, Stade Toulouse won in the Champions Cup final but must already turn towards the next deadlines in Top 14. For the championship leader, the Toulouse – La Rochelle of the 25e daytime comes with a lot of constraints and objectives that must be made to coexist.

Toulouse – La Rochelle: first place goal despite everything

In both the Champions Cup and the Top 14, Stade Toulouse is reaping the fruit of its efforts at the end of the season. Guaranteed to participate in the semi-finals (10 points ahead of UBB and ahead in field points), it could even turn, if only partially, against Stade Rochelais, as Didier Lacroix suggested the day after the title won against Leinster.

The fact remains that this place as leader of the Top 14 at the end of the regular season, the Rouge et Noir hold on to it. Not only could it make it possible, depending on the final ranking, to avoid a semi-final in Bordeaux against UBB, but also to better prepare for the final in the event of qualification.

“Being first would be a big advantage in order to have an extra day of recovery if we make it past the semi-final, so it can definitely be interesting for us. Now, being already qualified still allows us to approach the two upcoming matches with confidence. But playing at the Stadium in front of our audience, against La Rochelle, former reigning European champion, does not leave one indifferent. Beyond the ranking result. So in a short time, we must be able to prepare an important match for the club,” explained coach Virgile Lacombe at the end of Wednesday’s collective session.

An emotional shift to manage between Champions Cup and Top 14

After writing a new page in the club’s history, Ugo Mola’s men obviously celebrated as they should. A period of decompression necessary before switching back to the Top 14 and Toulouse – La Rochelle. With less excitement?

Not according to the former hooker: “The event is enough in itself! This is the last home match, in a full stadium, with players leaving or stopping (it will be Sofiane Guitoune’s last home match in particular, editor’s note). When you are a coach, it is not very difficult to find motivation levers, they are already present. »

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“The question is more about correctly managing physical recovery and having a suitable week which will allow on the one hand to recover and on the other hand to correctly integrate the information that the players will need to perform well,” he continues. He also assures that the group digested the festivities well.

We found the players in good shape. Some have gotten older and have learned to manage themselves well. The guys knew how to enjoy it and not forget that there was going to be a match this weekend. This is a good thing, even if it will make the organisms sweat a little!

Virgile LacombeCoach of the Toulouse stadium

We therefore understand that the European Champions do not intend to spoil the reception at Stade Rochelais. In the event of a victory against the Maritimes, depending on the result at Stade Français on the Castres pitch, Toulouse could definitively lock its first place. In which case he will be able to rest his executives on the last day of the regular season in Lyon.

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