It is a last day played without the fear of elimination after the last eighty minutes of the regular season. But this Sunday (21:05) of Top 14 multiplexes remains crucial for Stade Français and Racing 92, whose arithmetic situation is for the moment comparable before their respective trips to La Rochelle and Clermont. Respectively third and fourth on equal points (66), the two clubs have mathematically ensured their qualification in the play-off, a meeting for the moment scheduled on their lawn, but that the twists of the evening can move away from their stadium in case of descent in the standings.
Because behind, the fifth, Bordeaux, traveling to a Toulon who still has a minimal chance of qualifying, and the sixth, Lyon, opposed to Bayonne, dream of upsetting one last time the hierarchy of this Top 14, to play next weekend this quarter-final that does not bear the name in front of their supporters. A crucial advantage, and we are well placed to know it in the capital as in the Hauts-de-Seine. A year ago, Racing 92 was beaten in Bordeaux (36-16). While in 2021, for its last participation in the finals, Stade Français had been outclassed (38-21) at the Racingmen.
"It will make it easier for us to get to the semi-finals"
"The goal is to receive in the play-off. If we can do it, it will make it easier for us to reach the semi-finals, "says the third line sky and white Baptiste Chouzenoux. "In the Top 14, it's an important advantage to be at home for these decisive matches," said Parisian three-quarters Paolo Odogwu. The teams are boosted by their supporters. »
📋 THE XV for the shock against the double champion of Europe ⭐️⭐️!
🆕© Captain Hamdaoui#SRSFP | @Freshmile_fr pic.twitter.com/yHbfkR0EWx
— Stade Français Paris (@SFParisRugby) May 27, 2023
But beyond this common ambition, Racing 92 and Stade Français face two very different problems on the final day. On the one hand, the first have an appointment in Auvergne to face the ASM, which will have no other motivation than to finish well in front of its supporters. The Parisians, they challenge La Rochelle, already directly qualified in the semis, a week after the Maritimes managed to win a second Champions Cup in a row against Leinster. Trying to forget that this play-off at home stretched their arms a fortnight ago and this draw conceded (31-31) against Lyon after leading 28-0.
"It's behind us," promises the coach of the backs, Julien Arias. We want to finish this championship well. We spent 80% of the season second or third, it would be a shame to go lower on the last two days. Making sure you're there, yes, but how much? Stade Français will travel to Charente-Maritime without Sekou Macalou or his captain Paul Gabrillagues or his hooker Mickaël Ivaldi. Racing will start the match in Auvergne with Gaël Fickou, Finn Russell and Nolann Le Garrec on the bench.