The end of the season will inevitably leave regrets. Relegated a few weeks ago, RC Toulon had an incredible second half of the season, picking up unexpected victories here and there allowing them to join the fight for qualification in the final phase of the Top 14. But, as in the final of the European Challenge, on May 29 against Lyon, the Varois missed the last step, the most important. Defeated at Racing 92 (21-16), in a life-and-death match on Sunday evening, the RCT saw its season end prematurely.
Worse, despite an eighth place finish, they will still not be able to compete in the Champions Cup next season. The “fault” on LOU which, thanks to its victory in the small European cup, is automatically transferred to the “big” cup, despite a ninth place in the league. “We lose everything tonight [dimanche], regretted the Toulon manager, Franck Azéma. We had a good run in the second half of the season but not enough, too much behind that we couldn’t make up. »
Castres first surprise
The RCT will therefore watch, next weekend, Toulouse and La Rochelle, the winner of the Champions Cup, compete for a ticket to the semi-finals of the Top 14. The other play-off will pit Union Bordeaux- Bègles at Racing 92. The Girondins, who had their destiny in hand, completely foiled in Perpignan (22-15) and saw Castres overtake them and finish first in the championship thanks to a success in Pau during this last day.
“After 26 days, I think we were consistent. Never first of the season before tonight but constantly in the six. We made few unsuccessful matches, welcomed Pierre-Henry Broncan, the CO manager. It’s a very reactive, very healthy group, it’s the whole group that qualified tonight. We worked like crazy to get there. “Castres is therefore qualified directly for the semi-finals, just like Montpellier, however beaten in Clermont.
Usap against Stade Montois
At the bottom of the standings, if Perpignan have won well, they will still have to go through the play-off box to save their place in the elite, because of Brive’s victory at Stade Français. The Catalans will face Mont-de-Marsan, beaten in the ProD2 final by Bayonne, on Sunday (5:45 p.m.). “Never has a Top 14 team won this access-match,” said Patrick Arlettaz, Usap coach. We will recover the images of OM winning the European Cup and tell ourselves that we too will forever be the first. »