Neither anger nor sadness. Laurent Travers, the historic manager of Racing 92, led the Hauts-de-Seine club for the last time on the field, before taking over the presidency behind the scenes. A last in the form of a drubbing: 41-14 against Toulouse, Friday in San Sebastian, in the semifinals of the Top 14. But "Toto" did not appear more affected than that by this failed release. Probably because he knows his team well and he expected it a little...
"On the match, there is nothing to say, we are not invited, explains Laurent Travers. It's a reflection of the season. We couldn't be consistent from the first to the 80th minute. We have illusions about certain actions, like the season when we played good games and bad ones afterwards. When you get to the last four, it's the consistent teams that are rewarded."
Even the qualification to the semi-finals, after a play-off won on the ground of the neighbor and rival, the Stade Français, had in it the seeds of a future defeat. "Against Stade Français, we had 15-20 minutes of failure that we could have paid dearly," recalls Laurent Travers. It happened because we had a little margin, but against Toulouse or La Rochelle, it doesn't pass anymore." Inconstancy, always.
"Ten tones below"
On this level, captain Gaël Fickou is of the same opinion: the gap was too big with the leaders of the regular phase of the championship. On this match, first. "We missed everything," said the three-quarter international centre. We lost everything, the scrums, the collisions, the touches, the launches, everything, everything, everything... There is no photo. They were not one tone but ten tones above. A failed performance that can be explained by the wobbly season of Racing, analyzes Gaël Fickou. "We are starting from too far. It's frustrating, because we see that we are still far from a title. »
Racing 92 has indeed alternated in this irregular season some good games (victory in Toulon, or against La Rochelle) with defeats at home (against Stade Français) and has struggled to the end to qualify in the top six. "It's been a mixed season," sums up the Racing 92 captain. It was complicated for us. You can't tell yourself it's a good season. When you're in racing, you're there to win titles. We don't care about the halves. The semi-finalists, we forget them, you only remember the champions. We tried everything, we tried, but we were at the max, we could not do better. »
Like this semi-final against Toulouse: "We knew there was this gap, but we hoped. And reality has caught up with us... Dejected, Gaël Fickou still wanted to end on a note of hope. "We're going to question ourselves," he promises. There are some great recruits arriving, a new staff (Englishman Stuart Lancaster becomes the manager). There are a lot of things that will change in Racing, I hope well... »