REACTIONS.  Top 14: "Favorites for the title? We're not hiding!"  Euphoria at Castres Olympique after direct qualification for the semi-finals

REACTIONS. Top 14: “Favorites for the title? We’re not hiding!” Euphoria at Castres Olympique after direct qualification for the semi-finals

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The Tarnais have completed the regular phase of the championship in first place, and thus invite themselves directly into the last four. A historic achievement at CO. In the semi-final, on June 17 in Nice, Castres could find Stade Toulousain, who will play their play-off on June 11 at home against La Rochelle.

Julien Dumora, back of Castres (after the victory in Pau 26-16): “We knew that if we won here and there was a misstep by a direct competitor, we would qualify directly for the semi-finals. In the end, the others lost, we don’t necessarily realize yet what we has just done. It is unique for the club what we have just done. We are obviously very happy.”

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“Everything was undecided before that day. At half-time, we told ourselves to stay in the game as long as possible, with the contribution of the bench which was going to make a big entrance, and never panic if we take a try, three points. We always try to keep a cool head. (Favorite for the title?) We’re not hiding but it’s new for the club.”

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We have a half to play against big teams, the best in this championship. Whether it’s Toulouse champion of France and Europe last year or La Rochelle champion of Europe this year, I don’t see how we can have a preference for this semi-final.”

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Pierre-Henry Broncan, manager of Castres: “After 26 days, I think we have been consistent. Never first in the season before tonight but constantly in the six. We have had few unsuccessful matches.”

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“First, that takes us to the semi-finals directly, but no more than that. I’m satisfied but we lacked rhythm tonight, we didn’t have a great match. If we go to Nice (where the semi-finals on June 17 and 18, editor’s note) by playing like that, we will pick up.”

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“I said we’re going to train hard, we need it, the players are asking for it too. We’re not going through the play-offs, we’re not going to regret it, but in compensation, we’re going to have to be very good at our weeks of training to have a chance in Nice to perform.”

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“In the last 20 minutes, we are dominant with a bench that brings us a lot. We build our victories at 23, with a very strong group, few injuries. It’s a very reactive group, very healthy, it’s the Whole group that qualified tonight. We worked like crazy to get there. Toulouse or La Rochelle (in the half)? It’s the champion of France and the champion of Europe. We don’t meet small teams in the semi-finals.”

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