Here, we have a duel between two players who play at the same position, but who remain quite different. Matsushima (1m75, 88kg) is the good Clermont pick of the season. If the Nippon conquered France, it is above all thanks to its offensive inclinations. Alternating the positions of rear and winger, he directly brought speed and his devastating hooks. Intelligent, he has perfectly integrated in the field in the Auvergnat collective. So much so, that the 28-year-old has already played 23 games this season, all as a starter.
On Saturday, he will be one of the men to watch for the Jaunards, as he manages to create differences with the ball in hand. Creating differences, Thomas Ramos (1m78, 87kg) also knows how to do it. The versatile 3/4 Toulouse is known for his speed and especially his very good reading of the game. It is not for nothing that he is often tenured at the post of opener, five times this season. With very good kicking play, he is the one who stumbles against the poles.
This is perhaps one of Kotaro Matsushima’s only weak points. Less physical than his opponents, the Japanese international (39 caps) inevitably has more trouble stopping some behemoths. Against Racing 92, he was also sometimes somewhat overwhelmed by the opposing three-quarters, who were always one step ahead of him. Faced with Toulouse and Ramos, we must not procrastinate.
The old columérin has a physique similar to the Japanese. It is also hard to “add toffee” to opposing attackers, who often arrive thrown. But he has this tackling technique that is surely a little more efficient than his opposite of the day. Ramos advantage.
At 25, Ramos has had a few physical issues this season. Against Brive at the start of the year, he was notably forced to leave for a calf injury, which sidelined him for 6 weeks. Returned during the match against Toulon, he has not yet been able to string together the matches and is certainly not in the best of form. For Matsushima, it’s a bit the opposite. The Japanese haven’t stopped playing this season. So much so, that he even seemed a little physically tired in recent weeks. But the man with the 10 tries registered this season could wreak havoc on Ernest-Wallon.
By a very short margin, Matsushima won this duel which will keep us in suspense throughout the match. While Toulouse and Ramos will do everything to consolidate their first place in the standings, the Clermontois want to ensure qualification and will come to fight bitterly at Ernest-Wallon. The meeting promises just as much as the duel.
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