false duplicate but real stakes
A week before the start of the Six Nations Tournament, the Top 14 remain on deck, despite the absence of the internationals.
Approaching the Six Nations Tournament, the leader of the Top 14, Toulouse, will be deprived of many internationals on Sunday against the defending champion, Montpellier, like La Rochelle on the ground of Racing 92, another poster of this 16th daya high-stakes false duplicate.
A crestfallen leader
Cyril Baille, Julien Marchand, Thibaud Flament, Anthony Jelonch, Antoine DupontRomain Ntamack, Melvyn Jaminet and Thomas Ramos will be well in the Southwest this weekend.
But more than three hours by road from Toulouse, in Capbreton, in the Landes, where the XV of France has met since the start of the week to prepare for the defense of its title in the Tournament.
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The biggest supplier of the Blues, who only has a three-point lead in the championship over Stade Français, has done his best to involve his young people more since the start of the season to better anticipate duplicates.
“This is a pivotal period with the departure of our internationals, recognizes Toulouse full-back coach Clément Poitrenaud. We tried to prepare it in advance and now we’ll see if the work put in will bear fruit.“Consolation prize: the third line François Cros, the center Pierre-Louis Barassi and the winger Matthis Lebel were released by the tricolor staff and will be able to challenge Montpellier (6th).
The MHR, monster of inconstancy, recovered for its part the second line Bastien Chalureau and the third lines Alexandre Bécognée and Yacouba Camara. The powerful second line Paul Willemse remained in Capbreton and the young scrum half Léo Coly is injured.
Several big names will also miss the call of the other clash at the top of the table, Saturday evening, between Racing (5th) and La Rochelle (3rd).
The Parisians, who have not won since the beginning of December in the Top 14, will have to compose without their scrum half Nolann Le Garrec and their center Gaël Fickou.
Undefeated since the start of the year in all competitions, the Rochelais will try to remain so on the synthetic turf of the Arena despite the absence of the pillars Uini Atonio and Reda Wardi, second line Thomas Lavault and third line and captain Grégory Alldritt.
The opening half Antoine Hastoy, made available to his club by the management of the XV of France, will however be available, like the third international Yoan Tanga for his reunion with Racing.
His trainer, Ronan O’Gara, also went to Sky and White, but does not intend to make feelings: “it’s a good club, but now it’s the opponent and my job is to be better than them“.
Called to the bedside of Clermont (10th) to replace Jono Gibbes, sacked, Christophe Urios will live Saturday in Lyon (8th) a baptism of fire at the controls of his new team.
Two of his former clubs, Castres (11th) and Bordeaux-Bègles (4th), will face each other in a meeting under high tension for the Tarnais, which a home defeat – potentially the first for more than two years – would plunge for many years. good in crisis.
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The clash of extremes between the red lantern, Perpignan, and the second, the French Stadium, will be tense for other reasons.
The Catalans will no doubt still have in mind the “impasse” made at the end of last season by the Parisians against Brive (33-17 defeat), which had forced them to play a maintenance barrage.
The Brivistes (13th), transformed since the arrival of their new manager Patrice Collazo, will try to chain a fourth victory in Bayonne (7th), surprise team of the season.
Even without its third line and leader Charles Ollivon, Toulon (9th) will not have the right to make mistakes against Pau (12th) in front of its demanding Mayol public.