The large defeat against Racing, Damian Penaud’s desire to leave… The Yellow Army decreed general mobilization before the reception of the French champion, Montpellier, this Saturday at the opening of the 12e Top 14 day.
“In Auvergne, we have the image of very reserved people. The time has come to wake up. On the phone, Pierre Vignal is determined. With another influential supporter, Antonin Sanchez, he launched “general mobilizationsince the beginning of the week. Because the ASM is no longer running smoothly. 4th in the Top 14 mid-October, the Jaunards have since unscrewed. A draw against UBB, a defeat at Castres, another, at home, against the promoted Bayonnais. And the rout of last weekend, 46 to 12, on the synthetic lawn of Racing.
A bad series to fall to 11e place… So it rumbles in Place de Jaude and in all the strongholds of the Yellow Army. The call was heard, relayed by the Interclubs which coordinates all the groups of ASM supporters. With two messages to send this Saturday (3 p.m.) for the reception of the champion of France, Montpellier.
The first concerns the icon of the club, the city, the region, Damian Penaud. Who has desires to leave, and whose name is often cited on the side of Stade Toulousain. “During the test match against Japan, the Toulouse supporters chanted his name (the ASM winger had scored twice). We don’t want to be overwhelmed. We want to show that we, too, care about him. If it can help tip a complicated file, it is our duty to show our determination that it stays and commits to the long term. We want the sports project to revolve around him», insists Pierre Vignal.
“We have left the voice to the people of Toulouse enough. It’s up to us to make ourselves heard! »
Pierre Vignal, ASM supporter
The Yellow Army is therefore asked to show their love for the star winger, who has just beenvoted Most Valuable Player of the Fall Tour. “Damian is known to be quite sensitive and emotional. You have to display a clear message that will touch him…“This Saturday, around 1:30 p.m., when the players arrive at the Michelin stadium, thousands of supporters are expected to show their attachment to him. Songs will be addressed to him and 2000 tifos have been distributed with an unequivocal message: “Damian queda(Damian remains, in reference to that of Barça supporters towards Neymar). “The goal is obviously to create a buzz. We have left enough voice to Toulouse. It’s up to us to make ourselves heard!»
An action coordinated by the interclub, and its president Audrey Dulondel, but also validated by the ASM. In the columns of Midi Olympique, the sports director of the Auvergne club, Didier Retière, also worked to convince his international winger. “Damian is very important to us and we would like to continue with him. (…) We offer him to become a real leader in the field. We want to switch it to that status. He may be a great player at another club but, at Clermont, he will be the star of the team for years to come with a strong impact on the territory.“The former DTN of French rugby goes even further by promising a substantial effort. “Damian is the best winger in the world and it is normal that he is courted. But, both financially and sportingly, we are going to make very significant efforts.»
“We are all behind the players. No talk of a pep strike. »
Damian Penaud will not be the only recipient of the general mobilization of Clermont supporters. After the slap received at La Défense Arena, a reaction from the whole team is expected. “There was anger earlier in the week. She has since given way to frustration. Against Racing, there was zero aggressiveness, zero desire, zero cohesion. It’s not normal to play this way when you’re aiming for the final stages… We’ve already lost at home against Bayonne. There, we receive the champion of France, Montpellier. You have to win and make a good copy.»
A decisive meeting as a decisive month of December looms. After the MHR, the first two meetings in the Champions Cup are looming (against the South African Stormers, winners of the URC, and Leicester, the English champions), then the fiery derby against Brive, in the Top 14 Surge expected, required. “But we are all behind the players. No talk of a pep strike“, specifies Pierre Vignal in Figaro. Without hiding its requirements, for this season but also for the future.
The official departure of Arthur Iturria for Aviron Bayonnais at the end of the season, fueled concern. “We understand his family choice, his desire to return to the Basque Country. But, sportingly, it’s a bad signal. He’s our captain (currently suspended, editor’s note), which is returning to its best level after going through a difficult period after the 2019 World Cup. It changes the outlook. The club must recruit leaders. This team is sorely lacking since the departure of Camille Lopez (Bayonne) and Morgan Parra (French Stadium Paris). When things go wrong, heads are low. There is no one to shake the players“, laments the supporter. Who sets expectations. “The president of the ASM, Jean-Michel Guillon, announced great ambitions last June: aiming for the title of champion of France this season and the European coronation in 2025. Time for action now. We are waiting for announcements…»