Assured of finishing in 14th and last place in the Top 14, CA Brive was relegated to Pro D2, last week, after its defeat at home against Castres (16-13), on the 25th and penultimate day of the Top 14. But for the 13th place, synonymous with accession/relegation play-off against the loser of the Top 14 final, two clubs are under pressure: Pau and Perpignan. State of play before a final day that will be decisive.
- Schedule and results Top 14
- Top 14 Ranking
The Section has the cards in hand
For the Section Paloise, the deal is very simple: a success on Montpellier and the maintenance in the Top 14 will be acquired, whatever happens. But the Béarnais, twelfth with 47 points, complicated the task on the last day by losing dryly on the lawn of Bordeaux-Bègles (28-0). What the Palois manager Sébastien Piqueronies had acknowledged: "This is the scenario we feared. The Section will have two cartridges to survive in the Top 14. Either he will deserve to use only one (against the MHR), or he will deserve to go to the scratch (in the play-off).»
Beware, however, of the MHR, which will not be able to participate in the finals but which aims for the 8th qualifying place for the next Champions Cup. "We still have one game left to close a hard, difficult and complicated season," said Hérault manager Philippe Saint-André. It would be nice to finish in 8th place. But when you lose five home games, it's difficult to do that.»
The dynamics of Paloise: Three wins in the last five games. Section Paloise is not at all serene at home: it has already conceded 4 defeats and a draw at Hameau (for 7 wins), only the relegated Brive has done worse (9 losses, 4 wins).
Perpignan, victory at all costs
With the relegation of Brive, Usap has removed a thorn from the foot. But nothing is done to maintain it. On the contrary, the Catalans - thirteenth 43 points - must win in hostile territory, on the lawn of Castres Olympique (10th), which has nothing more to play for this season. Perpignan must absolutely win and count on a misstep of Pau. But the victory against Toulouse in Aimé-Giral (26-21) boosted the Usapistes. "This is a new step towards maintenance. We were never serene during this match but we have our destiny in our hands. Everything is possible, "says Kélian Galletier, the third line and captain of Perpignan.
His manager Patrick Arlettaz agrees: "When you are a team, you can do great things. And we're a team. But happiness will only be present if we maintain the club." In case of setback, the Perpignan would therefore play the accession/relegation play-off (against the loser of the Pro D2 final between Oyonnax and Grenoble), a match to leave or double that they already know. Last year, they became the first club 13th in the Top 14 to win this match in four editions. They had strangled Stade Montois (41-16), at Stade André-et-Guy-Boniface.
The Perpignan dynamic: Four wins in the last ten games. Problem, the Blood and Gold travel very badly this season with only one victory away (in Brive 22-24, early February), for eleven defeats. Only ASM Clermont Auvergne has done worse, so far, with 12 defeats and one success.