Make no mistake, the meeting between La Rochelle and Castres offered a spectacle to the spectators present in the Marcel Deflandre stadium this Saturday. More enterprising but above all more realistic, it was the Rochelais who won, quite easily, over the Castres who were too undisciplined to hope for anything. In parallel with the beautiful flights offered by this meeting, a lot of tension and several scuffles gave another dimension to the game.

Four skirmishes, three yellow cards and a lot of rooms … Mr. Cayre had a lot of work to channel the thirty players present on the lawn. If he first warned the captains (he even reframed them several times during the match), the match judge decided to sanction Danty and Urdapilleta, too vehement for his liking. What to describe to you the tone “muscular” of the part.

In a rather tight first half, a detail tipped the meeting in favor of the Rochelais: the lack of discipline in Castres. Tense, Antoine Tichit’s teammates did not manage to properly contain the premises and continually put themselves at fault. Especially in melee, the difference in strength between the two packs was felt. And what had to happen happened: on the eighth penalty conceded by the Tarnais, and the third in scrum, Antoine Guillamon was sanctioned with a yellow card.

Top 14 – Antoine Guillamon (Castres) was sanctioned with a yellow card against La Rochelle Icon Sport

A guilty numerical inferiority, since on the action which followed, the players of Ronan O’Gara invested the Castres camp and succeeded in finding the fault by Bourgarit, following a carried ball. Stalled in the score, Pierre-Henry Bronan’s men never managed to return to the meeting. Combezou’s test at the end of the game didn’t change anything.

When La Rochelle has the confidence, it shows. Ronan O’Gara’s men, reassured by a score of 22 to 3 at the start of the second period, decided to play their luck. Thus, in the 46th minute, a raise was initiated from the 22m of the Yellow and Black. Eneriko Buliruarua inherited the leather on his right wing and took advantage of the space to gain about thirty meters in his hallway. The former Brivist left the ball alive when he found Dillyn Leyds inside.

The South African with fire support resisted two tackles then transmitted the precious ammunition to Liebenberg after contact. The latter did not embarrass himself and served Dany Priso well launched in the defense. Hung, the pillar passed to Alldritt in the Castres 22m. The captain of the Yellow and Black immediately found his pillar with a new after-contact pass. Launched towards the line, Priso was stopped a few inches from the promised land. On the ground, he tried to find Kerr-Barlow but misses his transmission, hampered by a good defense from Julien Dumora. The Castres could free themselves and the Rochelais regret a test which would have been magnificent.

If there is one sector criticized on the side of the last Top 14 finalists at the start of the season, it is the success against the pole vaults. None of the three openers tested by Ronan O’Gara, whether Plisson, West or Popelin, had managed to do well in the penalty shootout. For this meeting against Castres, it is the former Vannes who played the heavy role of scorer at the opening. And he did it perfectly!

Top 14 – Pierre Popelin (La Rochelle) achieved a 100% against the pole vaults against CastresIcon Sport

While the percentage of success of the Rochelais scorers peaked at 62% before the match (worst total of a team in the elite), Popelin distinguished himself with a clinic 100% against the pole vaults. Seven attempts, seven successful kicks and a good lead built by the locals during the match. This 100% played a big role in the success of La Rochelle even if it remains “anecdotal” for the main interested party.

While he gave full satisfaction during this meeting, Pierre Popelin (26), should he become the number 1 opener for the Jaune et Noirs, ahead of Jules Plission and Ihaia West? His 100% against the poles and his great importance in the game have in any case reinforced Ronan O’Gara in his choice to start him in this important meeting.

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