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Paris (AFP) – Current affairs resume: after two weeks of international interruptions, the Top 14 resumes its rights, without the Blues, with a shock of ambitious long-toothed between Racing 92 and Bordeaux-Bègles Sunday, the next day the reception of Brive by the Toulouse leader.
“Between the injuries and the absences of our internationals, we have about twenty absences. We are alert and we must deal with our strengths and our shortcomings for the weeks to come.” To listen to Ugo Mola, it is a weakened Toulouse Stadium (1st, 36 pts) which presents itself in front of Brive (10th, 21 pts) for this 11th day of Top14.
The reigning French champions are certainly deprived of Julien Marchand (ribs) or of the brothers Rory (knee) and Richie Arnold (arms), injured, and the French internationals, scorers of the All Blacks, are on vacation (Dupont, Ntamack, Baille , Jelonch, Mauvaka, Cros). But we do not have to believe Mola: with Flament, Ramos, Médard, Tolofua, Ahki, Chocobares, Aldegheri or Mallia, the Rouge et Noir seem armed to keep their chair of leader against Brivists who no longer imposed themselves. on the banks of the Garonne since a drop from Johan Dalla Riva in the 77th minute of a ric rac (29-26) victory in 2006.
At 35, Fulgence Ouedrago is the man of one club. And, on Saturday, against Castres (7th, 23 pts), he will enter a little more into the history of the MHR (3rd, 26 pts): the former third line of the XV of France will play his 332nd match with Montpellier, erasing the record held until then by Didier Bès (1990-2003) to become the most capped player of the Hérault club.
“Records are made to be broken: I can’t wait for someone to overtake me, it will be a guarantee of good health for my club,” said the captain of the MHR modestly. A fourth consecutive success would also be a nice gift.
Matthieu Jalibert, Guido Petti and Federico Mori still on vacation on the UBB side; Boris Palu, Fabien Sanconnie, Nolann Le Garrec, Teddy Iribaren, Baptiste Pesenti or Louis Dupichot still injured at Racing 92 … He will miss the beautiful people on Sunday at the Arena. Regardless, Ile-de-France and Girondins, who each remain on one defeat, have something to prove.
A showdown between the two unfortunate semi-finalists of last season which promises to be strong: Bordeaux-Bègles won its last two trips to Nanterre (33-32 in 2021, 34-30 in 2019). Bis repetita?
The French Stadium (11th, 18 pts) prepared seriously for its trip to Biarritz (14th, 14 pts). “We knew very quickly during the week that it would be a complicated weather: it rained all week in Biarritz and it will most certainly rain on the day of the match”, explained the Parisian coach Gonzalo Quesada, who also set up workouts … covered by Basque music.
“We did what was necessary during our training to recreate the atmosphere we will have at the stadium. Of course we will have to be ready to play against this 16th man who will do his job to push the BO during this match. We had buckets of water to train us with wet balls. And we have big speakers and we know the songs that will be at the stadium so we added this constraint to train in these conditions, ”he added.
In the other meetings of the day, La Rochelle (6th, 24 pts) will want to continue its march forward in front of Pau (9th, 22 pts), just like Clermont (8th, 23 pts), who travels to Perpignan (13th, 14th pts) to confirm.
Finally, Franck Azéma will seek his first victory with Toulon (12th, 16 pts) on the ground of Lyon (4th, 26 pts).