Toulouse eliminates La Rochelle and qualifies for the Top 14 semi-finals

The defending champion is still breathing. The Stade Toulouse has qualified for the semifinals of the Top 14 thanks to an authoritarian victory on Saturday, June 11, in a draw against its favorite, La Rochelle (33-28).

Launched by a great Antoine Dupont, Toulouse, who had lost their European title, had a seventh consecutive success against the new European champion, too dull to catch up with his rated start despite a surge of pride in the final moments. Moreover, after learning the high-intensity matches in recent weeks, Rochelais could not find the weapons to compete with Toulouse.

“It simply came to our notice thencongratulated Ugo Mola, the Toulouse coach. We are well placed to know that when you win a European title, you have a form of enthusiasm that allows you to do amazing things. I had fears about our ability to respond to this energy, but today Toulouse faced La Rochelle. »

Stung in their pride after their heavy defeat in the semi-finals of the European Cup against the Irish of Leinster (40-17), the Toulouse team regained their heart to work to keep their other title and enjoy a shock next week in Nice, against neighboring castrais, first in the regular season.

Also read: European Cup: Leinster winner on the wire, La Rochelle completes French rugby dominance on the continent

Dupont decisive

In the furnace of Ernest-Wallon, where the temperature was still close to 30 ° at the kick-off, the beginning of the evening, the champions of France, full of envy, started at a very high pace. And as usual, Antoine Dupont was in charge of lighting the first locks. The best player in the world of the year 2021 gave his team a decisive advantage in two strokes and some beautiful moves (15-0 after 18 minutes).

Read also Antoine Dupont named World Rugby Player of the Year

Well found inside by international hooker Peato Mauvaka, a favorite in the starting XV to Julien Marchand, the melee half first offered himself, with a kick over for himself, a breakthrough concluded by the Pierre Fouyssac Center. He is charged with his own payment personality in the second coin of the Rouge et Noir test, five minutes later, after receiving the tour à l’ouvreur rochelais Ihaia West, the author of a very complicated match debut.

Nor the exit on injury, from the 20the minute of the third international line François Cros, nor the tests in force of the third lines Rochelais Wiaan Liebenberg (26e15-7 for Toulouse) and Grégory Alldritt (56e21-14) were not enough to stop the superiority of Toulouse.

La Rochelle saves appearances

Less sovereign in the second act, Toulouse still managed to score two more tries, thanks to Argentina’s Juan Cruz Mallia, who had already scored in last year’s European Cup final, and Romain Ntamack.

Read also Rugby: La Rochelle wants to beat bad luck against Toulouse in the Top 14 final

Pierre Bourgarit ‘s two tries at the end of the game (79e) and Jules Favre (80 + 1) allowed La Rochelle to save appearances in this duel between the last two winners of the European Cup.

“It simply came to our notice then. admitted La Rochelle coach Ronan O’Gara. When dominated by aggression, the best team won. I don’t have a photo, congratulations on Toulouse. It may have been too much for us, but it’s not an excuse. »

After already crushing Biarritz (80-7) on the 26the and on the last day, the Toulouse team will be confident in the semi-finals against Castres, ready to defend Brennus’ shield dearly.

Le Monde with AFP

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