The European champion is sentenced to heroism in Ireland against Munster.
The moment to become big and indomitable again has come. Stade Toulousain is (almost) complete again after six months interrupted by the absence of international matches. A five-star workforce striving to rediscover their dominant game, their determined gestures, their winning culture. With Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack as helmsmen, Thomas Ramos as a sniper, secateurs Jelonch, Cros and Flament, the devastating Julien Marchand and Cyril Baille at the front lines, it’s a team that finally resembles what France and Europe have seen in the past season has conquered this Saturday (4 p.m.) at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin.
Opposite the province of Munster. Another juggernaut. Face to face, the only two teams qualified for the quarterfinals of the flagship competition for the 19th seasonand Time! Robbed of their Thomond Park hideout because of Ed Sheeran’s concert, the Munsters have taken over the national team’s stadium, 200 kilometers from Limerick. The M7 linking the two cities will be a long train of supporters, more than 30,000 members of the famous Red Army are expected at the sworn enemy’s stronghold of Leinster.
Stade Toulousain has already managed to blush. Just last season. A 40-33 success in 8and Finale which, according to its protagonists, had ushered in its irresistible end to the season. Can they do it again a year later? Since the beginning of April and the effective return of the Grand Slam heroes, the increase in power has been slow. Just two wins in five games. But successes count. In Belfast to get rid of Ulster in 8and Final of this Champions Cup. Against Stade Rochelais to stay in the top 14.
I’m feeling lucky
“We’re finding what we’ve been missing for the past few months: our collective mental strength to snap games in the final momentsstresses Clément Poitrenaud, the assistant coach in charge of attack. There are also some interesting things about rugby. It’s not finished in 80 minutes, but we feel the team is making progress. The traffic lights are more green…” Enough to add a new milestone to the club’s legend? “The challenge looks complicated. It goes one step higher in intensity and pressureHe is the former backbone of the Red-Blacks. But we definitely want to win this game to play a semi-final. We are preparing for a great fight. We’re going there to repeat last season’s feat.
A performance that was then snapped behind closed doors at a Thomond Park. Can they reissue it in tone and fury? Munster’s head coach Johann van Graan did not hesitate to mobilize the Red Army a little more. “The big difference this year will be our sixteenth man. We rely on our supporters to tip the scales…” The appointment is taken, the challenge immense. The crucial issue. Now it’s make or break. The kind of match that wakes up Toulouse competitors. The taste of blood.
“The more people and noise there are in the stadium, the more it overwhelms us,” recalled Romain Ntamack in the columns of noon olympic. The opener didn’t blink as he showed Toulouse’s ambitions. “We have confidence in ourselves. We know we can do it because we’ve already done it. Our goal is not to stop in the quarterfinals. It’s not a lack of humility, we have every right to say so. We’re defending champions, so we have something to defend.
The competitive spirit. Champions are never satisfied. Poitrenaud suppresses a satisfied smile, but he knows it. His charges are undoubtedly back. “Now go forward and fire! We’ll try to go all the way.” the technician announces. By handing over a key. Not defense – his troops will respond – but attack. “Our attacking game is a little less effective than last season. We expect more from our finishers, from our wingers who, when they are in a favorable situation, need to reward the team’s work. You need to start the engine for confidence to return. Become irresistible again.