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Top 14: the battle rages at the back of the pack


Almost half of the elite are only 4 points at the bottom of the ranking. The fight for maintenance promises to be fierce and indecisive.

Every season, we hear the same thing: there are no more small teams, the level of the Top 14 is ultra-tight.

Supporting figures, this is confirmed this year with only four points which separate the ninth Pau (22 points) from the red lantern Biarritz (18).

As the mid-season approaches, nothing is played at the bottom of the rankings.

No team lost, as was the case last season with Agen, who had lived a real nightmare (no victory in 26 days).

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Read alsoTop 14: Morgan Parra will leave Clermont and seeks a last challenge at 33 years old

Back in Top 14, the two promoted clubs, Perpignan (13th) and Biarritz (14th), certainly occupy the last two places in the ranking but they hold their rank, jostle the supposed big teams and do not make any complex.

Like Usap's victory over Clermont last weekend, after bringing down Toulon and La Rochelle.

“We were galvanized by everything going on around, we had the nerve to look for something,

appreciated the Catalan hooker Mike Tadjer.

We are on a good dynamic, but the season is still long.

You have to stay focused. ”

"Not a ranking story"

Same rage on the side of Biarritz Olympique which, after a sensational debut (success against UBB and Racing 92), had suffered a less well (6 losses in 7 matches) before straightening the bar against Stade Français Paris ( 17-14).

No worries on the side of the Biarritz sports director Matthew Clarkin: “

For the moment, it is not a matter of classification, it is to prepare the matches as well as possible and to try to win them.

There are too many elements that impact the ranking for us to worry about today.

Small but without complexes, then.

Obviously, we've been worried for a while.

We are realistic about our goals

Gonzalo Quesada

More worryingly, RC Toulon and Stade Français are struggling to take off from the bottom of the ranking.

The Parisians shine by their inconstancy, able to compete with the best (victories against Castres, Clermont and Lyon) but also guilty of huge air pockets and crippling absences.

Gonzalo Quesada's team (12th, 19 points) remains on three setbacks, before receiving La Rochelle on Saturday, which was able to recover after a chaotic recovery.

The inconstancy of Paris

Obviously, we are worried, for a while,

do not hesitate to launch Gonzalo Quesada.

We are realistic about our objectives.

We have to do a lot better in our content.

We knew we wouldn't be in front of everyone or in the top 3, in front of the big teams.

Afterwards, we remain very lucid.

We will continue to work and think about changes in what we do.

“Last season, the Pink Soldiers managed to take part in the final stages (loss in the play-off against Racing) after a disheveled final sprint.

It seems more than complicated this year, the Parisian club flirting again with the red zone as has been the case regularly in recent seasons.

Getting into the positive spiral is important

Franck Azéma

Toulon is the other “cador” to experience a serious ignition delay. Will the convincing victory over Lyon (18-13) on Saturday serve as a trigger for the Var? Franck Azéma, arrived at the bedside of the RCT after the departure of Patrice Collazo, - like the audience of Mayol - appreciated the performance of his people against the LOU. “

In the first half, we are in a rush. We overplayed a bit in our camp. We wanted to score on a single pass. These are the things that you have to manage to erase, but it's always easier to do it in victory. Getting into the positive spiral is important,

insists Clermont's former mentor.

What is nice is also the serenity that there was when they came back to ten everywhere.

These small details in place, they must also be valued.

“To be confirmed on Saturday in Pau (9th), a direct competitor for the maintenance which seemed to have recovered since the arrival of Sébastien Piqueronies but which fell heavily in La Rochelle (36-8).

Brive used to fighting

Last member of this peloton, CA Brive (10th), used to battling for maintenance, which is still just as difficult to maneuver at home (4 wins, only one setback against Stade Rochelais). The Corréziens have learned to play under pressure, managing to hold on since their return to the top flight in the 2019-2020. After jostling the Stade Toulousain last Saturday (18-11), the Coujous will have to manage a new delicate trip to Lyon.

But it was the frustration that prevailed after the setback against the reigning double French champions.

The refereeing was very severe against us,

railed manager Jeremy Davidson, thinking about the red card inflicted on his opener Enzo Hervé.

It was the same last year and it swells me.

We had ambitions.

It didn't go far, so it's hard to swallow.

We worked well defensively, we scored a good try.

The players can be proud of their performance.

Last year, the CAB had signed three successes outside its bases: in Agen, Castres and Pau.

This year, we will have to go and collect points away from home again.

All points will count, another adage that we keep repeating.

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2021-12-02

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