Rugby – Top 14: serial hunger for the Paloise Section in Castres

A victory is a coup de force. Two is a confirmation. Three is a series.

And that’s what the Section Paloise is doing with its happy trilogy – La Rochelle, UBB, Brive. “Yes, of course, it’s a series, but we’re not 8 wins in a row either”, delays assistant coach Antoine Nicoud, rather on the alert before this 12e day in Castres. “The longer a series lasts the closer it comes to the end”.

But if this one lasts a whole…

A victory is a coup de force. Two is a confirmation. Three is a series.

And that’s what the Section Paloise is doing with its happy trilogy – La Rochelle, UBB, Brive. “Yes, of course, it’s a series, but we’re not 8 wins in a row either”, delays assistant coach Antoine Nicoud, rather on the alert before this 12e day in Castres. “The longer a series lasts the closer it comes to the end”.

But if it lasts a little bit, it will be synonymous with a record: never in the Piqueronies era, has the Section won a power four game. “We don’t think about it, slice Nicoud. What we know is that the Section is having a hard time beating Castres, which means that the Castres are ahead of us. The objective is to evaluate oneself in a tough context. »

Indeed Pau has not beaten Castres since September 2019 and remains on five defeats in a row. A test all the greater as the first round of this 2022-2023 duel will be played at the Pierrre-Fabre stadium where the CO is not very funny: 26 matches without defeat. But same observation, the longer a series lasts, the closer it comes to its end…

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What arouse a state of alert. Which is also exacerbated by the setback conceded on Saturday by Castres to La Rochelle (53-7). Beware of the mirage says Nicoud: “For them, it was the nightmare match where nothing succeeded. They had also put a lot of players on the side. And last year, they had a big disappointment in Toulouse (41-0), that did not prevent them from finishing first in the regular season. The table is quite simple, the CO comes out of a difficult match and we are going to be entitled to a lot of engagement combat, a very direct game. It’s no coincidence that this team never loses at home. We think we are warned, to see how we react on Sunday. »

The editorial staff advises you

The editorial staff advises you

The editorial staff advises you

Top secret

What is certain is that this team will not move forward deluded. She dominated Brive but without dazzling. Nicoud again: “The observation is quite clear: we are satisfied with the result, a little less with the content. We didn’t sell anything else to the players. “We were weak on our game launches, in touch. We got our fingers slapped. We did not manage to do what we wanted but we managed to win, ”summarizes the third row Sacha Zegueur. A realism that we cannot actually complain about. It testifies to the progress of a formation which for a while has not stunned by its pragmatism.

And other indicators are green: the new density of the workforce with the return from injury and the signing of scrum-half Dan Robson; the defense also with this statistic of 96% of successful tackles against Brive. “We miss less. We gain confidence in ourselves and that’s good stats, ”savors Zegueur. Antoine Nicoud will still wait a few hours before confirming the trend. “If it’s good Sunday, we can say that we have really progressed. We are going to have a lot of challenges, playing very high on the line, it is a team that pushes back and is able to hold the ball for a long time. If there, we are at the level, we will say that we have progressed. »

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“The day when we will not be afraid”

The commitment will count: “If we have the determination to do the same thing as in La Rochelle and if we respect our game plan, we can claim to have a good match”, gently slips Lekima Tagitagivalu.

Humility too, significant since the setback against Stade Français and the passage through the last place. Maintaining remains the fight. Zegueur dodges the fantasy of the Top 6. “We are 9th in the ranking, we have come a long way, we were hot. I’m not going to say that we’re looking ahead, but we’re going to try to move forward. »

Castres worries but it is also good news. From the Stade Français, Pau is transfigured by the state of alert. “The players reacted, were afraid, were hungry, explains Nicoud. And that should guide us. The day we won’t be afraid, we won’t be good. »

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