Laurent Travers’ players won (25-01) Saturday at Swansea Stadium.
The third day of the Champions Cup began on Friday with a Castres defeat against Munster. Since then, fortunes have varied for French clubs. A look back at the first matches of the penultimate day of the group stage.
Racing 100 still undefeated
We had to wait for a spark from Teddy Thomas. With a small kick to follow, the international winger sent Juan Imhoff to flatten the ball in the in-goal to allow his team to get their heads back in place (36e, 8-11). Because Racing 78, usually so flamboyant in the European Cup, has long lacked precision to validate his dominance. This try from the Argentinian winger allowed the Ile-de-France residents to stay in the game despite a sluggish first period. They then rolled out to win (25-10), Saturday 16 January, and take a big step towards qualification for the knockout stages of the Champions Cup.
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The Ospreys, long valiant and efficient, ended up giving way under the onslaught of Laurent Travers’ men. Disconcerted by the creativity and support of Gaël Fickou, Kurtley Beale or even Finn Russell, the Welsh were suffocated by the physical density of the entrants – Camille Chat and Cedate Gomes Sa particularly distinguished themselves – while the young Antoine Gibert, in the fray, gave his opponents no respite thanks to a game at the foot of precise occupation. If he misses the offensive bonus of a try, Racing 100 ensured the essentials by consolidating his place as leader of Pool A.
Toulou’s misstep in England
The Stade Toulousain was scuttled in Coventry. In the den of the Wasps, the teammates of Romain Ntamack – captain in the absence of Antoine Dupont – offered a poor copy. Clumsy (16 lost balloons), too penalized ( 01 fouls and a yellow card against Jelonch), late in support, thee European champion logically fell (30-15) against the English who have never given up.
There are not many positives to take away. The energy was on the side of the Wasps. There are things that bothered me this afternoon. I saw a state of mind focused on the game, it was obvious, but for all that, with each refereeing decision, everyone raised their arms… and that is not us. So we’re going to refocus on the essentials and put things back in order.
Ugo Mola, coach of Stade Toulousain
at a press conference
Deprived of the defensive bonus at the end of the match, Toulouse will have to show a whole another face against Cardiff to live up to its ambitions and clinch a place in the top four of its pool.
Castres still a stone’s throw from the feat
After three defeats in as many games, the Castres European campaign should end next weekend. Nevertheless, by hanging the Harlequins, then the European ogre that is Munster twice, when they were promised hell, the Tarnais have surely won more than lost. Friday night, Pierre-Henry Broncan’s players were attractive and believed they had achieved the feat until the 78th minute. A strong try from Gavin Coombes 4918005 came to rob them of victory (16-15).
Performances, each time obtained with a European Cup version team – to hear deeply reworked -, which will be in spite of the defeats, invaluable for the rest of the CO season. The group will try to finish in style at Harlequins in Twickenham on the final day of the group stage.