The game: 30-29
Considering their first period, we imagined the Toulonnais, dominant, then quietly winning an offensive bonus against an Auvergne team then sluggish, undisciplined and therefore quickly reduced to thirteen for five minutes (34th-39th). But, on the contrary, the ASM found enough moral and physical resources to go up the score (27-22 in the 54th, then 30-29 in the 72nd) and give cold sweats to the public of Mayol. Finally, the RCT bowed to the tests (three to four) but won in extremis this meeting which it could just as well have lost if the ASM had been more effective in the scoring zones between the 58th and the 67th. minute, then at the very end of the game.
For their part, after seven missed opportunities, the Toulonnais ended up finding the solution to score their first try, and again it was in a mouse hole, the right pillar Beka Gigashvili taking a ball in a ruck to score in force (35th) . Previously, as a summary of Var's impotence, Baptiste Serin had quickly played a penalty by hand near the Clermont in-goal, but had been turned back at the entrance...
Undisciplined, heavily penalized (two yellow cards for anti-game in the 29th and 34th), the Clermontois, who had so far provided no test opportunity, found themselves led (20-8). And this gap widened as soon as the recovery: beautifully offset by his three-quarter center Mathieu Smaili, the young winger Gaël Dréan scored the third Toulon try (41st, 27-8). It now remained for the RCT to get the offensive bonus. For the anecdote, established third-line center for his return in his new colors, the former international center Mathieu Bastareaud, now in Toulon, left the field in the 49th minute after a rather decent overall performance.
Against all expectations, the Auvergnats grew bolder. They inherited a penalty try (46th, 27-15). Reduced in turn to fourteen following the fault of Swann Rebbadj (46th), the Varois found themselves outnumbered and conceded a third try, signed Julien Hériteau (50th), who plunged into the in-goal like a forward . Returning to the score (27-22), the Clermontois then had a long period of unsuccessful domination (58th-67th) in front of the Var in-goal before Lucas Dessaigne found the fault (72nd). They still had two match points at the very end of this match but wasted them, while the Toulonnais were on their heels.
The number of points conceded by the Clermontois between the 35th and the 39th, in double numerical inferiority (yellow cards against Jedrasiak in the 29th, then Ojovan in the 34th)
The player: the staggering breakthrough of Jiuta Wainiqolo
Gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021 with the Fijian selection, a rugby 7s specialist but also a former treiz player in Australia, the slender winger Jiuta Wainiqolo (23 years old, 1.87m, 89 kg) pierced the Auvergne defense on sixty meters for a staggering try: after a long straight acceleration, three hooks and a fuss, he deposited the ball in the in-goal just before the break. He also saved the last match point (79th) on a recovery on the ground.