Last of the Top 14 before receiving Castres, Saturday in Jean-Bouin, the Stade Français without rugby since the start of this season, did not really need to be good at math to understand that in case of fourth setback in as many games, the season could already be very long.
What you must remember :
The Stade Français was driven by a desire to redeem itself against Castres in order, finally, to be able to launch its season. But the Parisian club quickly believed that his afternoon was going to be one of the most difficult, when the referee Luc Ramos was much less lenient than the sky above Jean-Bouin on an excess of commitment from Paul Alo-Emile ( 3rd). First foul and first red card for men from Gonzalo Quesada who really didn’t need that. And yet … While we feared that things would quickly turn into a grimace, the excited Parisians pushed the CO to the fault, and scored a penalty try at 14 against 15 (7-0, 8th).
Castres, fourth in the Championship after two successes and a draw, was not necessarily the best opponent to hope to revive. But led by an audience that has never stopped pushing, we found a bit of the team that had finished a cannonball in the regular phase and had qualified for the play-offs last season. Paris has demonstrated values of envy, solidarity and combativeness that it had never seen before in 2021-22.
Joris Segonds did the right thing on the foot (5 out of 6 attempts including a penalty from the center line), he missed Sekou Macalou a hair for the second try (30th), and the Rose and Blue returned to the locker room with an advantage (16-10). A deserved advance and quickly confirmed by the test on the wing of Telusa Veainu (52nd, 21-10), then on the ultimate backlash from James Hall (34-10). The CO only managed to flatten him once on his first breakthrough and a good race from Antoine Zeghdar, converted by Jérémy Fernandez (26th, 13-10). But at fourteen, the Parisian defense folded, suffered sometimes, without ever breaking afterwards. That it does good, this first success of the season torn with the guts by the French Stadium. Now 13th in the Top14, Paris is moving forward and will have to build the rest of its season on this burst of pride.
The fact: the early exclusion of Alo-Emile, the necessary trigger
Normally, at 14 against 15 from the third minute, we tell ourselves that the game could be a long ordeal, especially when we are called Stade Français at the moment. That we will have to grit our teeth. Take the blows. But against the course of the match and their season, the Parisians have brilliantly demonstrated that they are not already dead. And the blows, they are the ones who gave them. Finally, what if this early exclusion of Paul Alo-Emile was not exactly what it took at the Stade Français to wake up? The attitudes, after long sequences of defense or scratched balloons, were (finally) those that we are entitled to expect from the workforce of the capital.
The number: 1
Afternoon of premieres. Thanks to this unexpected success in numerical inferiority, the French stadium put an end to the invincibility of Castres, which fell to sixth place in the Championship with this first setback and left the leader Toulouse the only team still undefeated before the reception of Clermont on Sunday (9:05 p.m. ).