new era in Toulon, Toulouse plucked

Disputed without the French internationals selected at Marcoussis to prepare for the autumn tests, including many Toulousans, the 9th day of the Top 14 will mark this weekend the start of a new era in Toulon after the replacement of manager Patrice Collazo by Franck Azema.

. Toulon, the electroshock?

Azéma officially took the helm of an adrift RCT on Thursday, penultimate in the standings with only two wins in eight days of the championship.

Clermont’s iconic former coach, without a bench since the end of last season, will be at the Mayol stadium on Saturday to see his new team face Biarritz.

He will be able to contemplate the scale of the construction site in front of him on the Rade, in an otherwise more tumultuous environment than the one he experienced in Auvergne.

“It was inevitably hectic days,” admitted the Var opener Anthony Belleau. “Without disrespecting Patrice (Collazo), we had to start over with something positive and find this electroshock”.

. You miss eleven beings

The Toulouse Stadium has been well inspired to fill up (almost) so far, with seven wins in eight matches. Because the defending champion will ride on the reserve in the coming weeks during the international window.

He will have to compose Sunday in the Arena of Racing 92 without 11 of his players called up to the France team for the November tests, including his two first hookers, Julien Marchand and Peato Mauvaka.

The leader will however be able to count on his powerful second row Iosefa Tekori, requalified with a week ahead of the initial term of his suspension, thanks to a controversial device.

His opponent saw three Marcoussis players return in the middle of the week: second row Bernard Le Roux, third row Ibrahim Diallo and winger Donovan Taofifenua.

Reinforcements welcome, in addition to the return from injury of international winger Teddy Thomas, after the Hauts-de-Seine club’s first home defeat last week against Montpellier (32-21).

. The law of series

On the lookout for a Toulouse misstep, Bordeaux-Bègles must also do without, for the same reasons, its playing master Matthieu Jalibert, who this week extended his lease in Gironde until 2025.

Solid second thanks to an ongoing series of five consecutive successes, the UBB receives a team in ascending form, Clermont, victorious in its last two matches.

Like ASM, La Rochelle and Stade Français are doing better after experiencing an ignition delay.

These two candidates in the top 6 will aim for the pass of four in two aspiring maintenance: the promoted Perpignan, red lantern, and Pau, returned to the ranks after a good start to the season.

This is also the case for Brive, who remains on four setbacks before a delicate trip to Castres, necessarily revenge after his Toulouse drop (41-0) last weekend.

. Montpellier and Lyon are looking for consistency

Montpellier achieved the big blow of the last day by going to win on the synthetic field of Racing (32-21).

“We really needed it after tripping twice at home already,” South African MHR opener Handré Pollard told AFP. “Winning away from a team like Racing is great for confidence”.

“We still have a lot of work to do since we’re only in eighth place, but it’s a big step in the right direction,” he added.

The opponent of Montpellier, Lyon, also alternates the good and the less good. But the LOU have shown, by being the first team to bring down Toulouse this season, that they have the potential to compete with the best.


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