Lacking many key elements, Toulouse present a remake of the last Top 14 final on Saturday, December 30, when they will face a tough but inevitably vengeful La Rochelle team.
With a number of managers being laid to rest, Stade Toulousain take to the field at Stade Rochelais with other weapons this Saturday for the final meeting of 2023. “The remaining players are also top-level players, Clément Poitrenaud began at a press conference. We have retained a competitive group for La Rochelle. We have prepared appropriately for this trip, even if the week is special.”
Ugo Mola’s squad continue a positive win streak at the end of the year, having enjoyed a four-day break before returning to training on Thursday afternoon. “Putting three wins together hasn’t happened to us in a long time,” the three-quarter coach said. After two successes in the Champions Cup, Toulouse defeated RCT (25-17) last Saturday.
“The 20-minute comeback against Toulon was a bit difficult, we felt that we did not have the energy, we did not transition between the two competitions. Our strength of character, our rugby game allowed us to get back into the match. It was important for us in terms of mentality and I think this match will be good for the group”, he analyzed did the back coach.
Meafou on the bench
Many players in the squad will be able to replenish their energy in the coming days (Dupont, Jelonch, Cros, Ramos, Baille, Arnold, Lebel, Roumat, Kinghorn, Akhi, Mauvaka, Barassi). “These players need to be able to recover. There are not 50 windows in the season to do that.”
On the other hand, Toulouse will field the captain of the day, Marchand, while Meafou, who became a father on December 25, will start on the bench. Enough to fight back against a struggling team (No. 9 in the Top 14) and excited by the return of Greg Alldritt? “If they decided to bring him back to play against us before, it’s because somewhere they are afraid of us, so that’s pretty good news,” Poitrenaud said ironically, referring to an “additional threat”.
Passing of the bat
While many players participating in the World Cup are guaranteed to make it through New Year’s Eve without any new ailments, others such as Ange Capuozzo, Juan Cruz Mallia and Jack Willis have marked the end of the year.
“La Rochelle are a great team against Toulon,” he told him. Attacks and blows are very important for us. Defense too, because in terms of discipline, if you get access to big areas of 22 metres, that will be important for you. Be tough.” Toulouse will need to watch out for the wounded beast.