TOPS

April 27, 2019. You have to go back more than five seasons to find any trace of a Toulouse victory in Castres (20-21). Since then, the Bleu et Blanc have made their law reign at Pierre-Fabre and have had a fifth consecutive success. Better still, they have only conceded two defeats in ten years at home.

Without making any noise, as usual, Jeremy Davidson’s men climbed to 3rd place on the podium (the Top 14 ranking) tied on points with Racing 92 (1st) and Stade Fran├žais (2). With five victories and two defeats, they confirm their consistency and seem to assimilate the working method of their coach, who arrived in February 2023.

What activity from the second row! Tom Staniforth again did considerable work in the combat zones and fought with Meafou on an equal footing. The 29-year-old Australian was rewarded with a try (55th), which seemed to seal the fate of the match before the opponent woke up.

FLOPS

A clean and flawless defeat in Pau (13-9), a close victory against Perpignan last week (43-34), and a new defeat in Castres. In a club where excellence and quality of play have always been two factors put forward, the current trend is to question the French champion. Frigid in conquest, uninspired behind, Ugo Mola’s men will have to get back on track to avoid falling too far behind the competitors in the final stages.

If he continues to make headlines for his Olympic news – his participation in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games will be made official on Monday – Antoine Dupont is still looking for himself on the fields of the Top 14. Author of blunders last week during his return to Top 14, the scrum half, placed at the opening for the 6th time in his career, was upset and uninspired in his choices. He was at fault on Hulleu’s first Castres try (22nd) by being caught inside (the height of it!) by Popelin. His kicks were imprecise and the 27-year-old appeared to not yet be at 100% of his physical capabilities.

The host of international players at the Stadium made their return last week, and we cannot say that they had the expected impact. With the exception of Cros and Flament, the other executives failed this Saturday evening. Ramos committed a lot of slag in the running game, Jelonch lacked gas, Baille was solid in closed scrum but not very comfortable in the running game. Finally, Aldegheri missed his entry into play. Even Meafou showed physical deficiencies, already seen against Leinster in the European Cup.