Stade Toulousain, the awakening of the beast

The French and European champions showed character by defeating Ulster in Belfast. They are gaining momentum as they approach the final sprint in the Champions Cup and Top 14.

The case seemed poorly shipped. The European champion -and his five stars on the jersey- premiered in the round of 16, would have been a stain. And then Antoine Dupont, again him, got up to record the rehearsal of the victory of the Stade Toulousain in Belfast against Ulster (23-30). Defeated at Ernest-Wallon in the first leg (20-26, after playing 70 minutes at fourteen), the Rouge et Noir knew how to react like champions, and honor their status as the flagship team of European rugby. A small point of difference that makes the difference.

“You win by one point against a magnificent team. I don’t know if it’s pride, but rather pride. The pride of not wanting to let go of this trophy, the pride of playing in the quarter-finals, he likes Toulouse coach Ugo Mola. Going out in the round of 16 losing three of four games would not have lived up to the quality of this team.

Not everything has been perfect in Belfast. Away from. Stade Toulousain, forced to chase the scoreboard, tried hard at the Kingspan Stadium, to the point of excess. Hence an impressive and unusual technical extravagance. Shovel forward, unstable passes, so many rather rough slags that they did not allow the Haut-Garonnais to stand out on the scoreboard.

And Ugo Mola, sincere, to make his mea culpa: “We made a strategic mistake, we wanted to score very quickly. Too many easy points are given. We lacked a bit of foresight. But hey, we’re in the quarterfinals. Here we go again. This team does not give up. I’ll be happy with that.” In this lively and intense part, Romain Ntamack shone with high-class gestures, such as this decisive advance that tore through the Northern Irish defense for Thomas Ramos’ try or this interception that he himself converted into 5 points.

This game will give us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season

Thomas Ramos

At the same time, his hinge friend Antoine Dupont seemed to be in a day without, making small mistakes that are hardly his own. But that didn’t stop the “best player in the world” label from making the difference in “money time” when he was replaced in the opening. A true champion reaction.

“It’s the kind of games we like to win. We knew we were capable of doing it. And we did enjoy with international side Thomas Ramos. We got off to a bad start after the first leg, but we were able to reverse the trend.And to insist: “There is a lot of joy. It’s been a while since we won away from home. Especially here, in a rather special environment.

After a serious slowdown in the middle of winter, notably due to the absence of its internationals, Stade Toulousain is regaining momentum and color as it approaches the final stretches, either in the Top 14 (currently 5th) or in the Champions League. “This game will give us a lot of confidence for the rest of the season”supports Tomas Ramos.

We will have to raise our level of rugby if we want to win a room in Ireland.

ugo is cool

The serious stuff resumes on Saturday (9:05 pm) with a clash between the Rouge et Noir at the Stade Vélodrome against RC Toulon, also on a clear recovery. Several executives from Toulouse must be allowed to rest, to breathe a little. Then it will be time to look towards the European Cup quarter-final against Munster. A repeat of last year’s match, in the round of 16, where Julien Marchand and his teammates won at Thomond Park (33-40), for the first time in the club’s history.

But this year, these quarter-finals will take place at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium as two Ed Sheeran concerts are planned at the Red Army Compound in Limerick. In any case, one thing is certain: “We will have to raise our level of rugby if we want to win a room in Ireland”warns Ugo Mola. Toulouse is still in dispute on both counts. For a new double? Are we making a movie of that?

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