The statements ahead of Toulon vs Castres

Here are the main statements of the Toulon and Castres staff and players ahead of the semi-final qualifier between the two teams, Friday, May 19th, at the Stade Mayol (kick-off time: 9 p.m. CET).
Richard Cockerill, RCT manager: “We’re going into this game as if it was a normal one. We couldn’t afford to lose the last four games and we can’t lose this one. Castres are a very good team and we struggled to grab the win last time, at Mayol.”
Guilhem Guirado, RCT hooker: “We know Castres will be ready. There is much at stake in this knock-out game. The best games of the season are coming and, of course, we look forward to playing them. Everyone feels a little suspicious and anxious, because you can’t afford to lose. Should everything go well, we’ll have to win three games to grab the trophy, but we don’t want to think too far ahead and we’re concentrated on this qualifier.”
Duane Vermeulen, RCT flanker and captain: “I would love it if we could bring back this trophy. That would be the first time for some, the last time for others. This comes as a boost as we’re going into the knock-out stage.”
Liam Gill, RCT flanker: “After a season with so many events on and off the pitch, our position shows the character of our team. I’ve come here to win trophies and that’s what I’m keen on.”
Christophe Urios, Castres manager: “It’s going to be a direct confrontation. They’ll try to wear us out. Looking back at the game played on April 15th, it’s obvious the last fifteen minutes were quite difficult for us – we couldn’t grab the ball, our throw-ins and our scrum were very poor. The direct confrontations in the first half had harmed us. I know they’ll be looking to play the same way. It will be no use playing with our minds if we don’t put our hearts into it. First, we’ll have to be utterly committed, which is not new. The start of the game is going to be crucial. We’ll have to play so as Toulon do not get confident. Should they start walking all over us in the first twenty minutes, we may find the game a very long one afterwards. But when one is committed and fierce, one then has to keep his head cool, be accurate and pull out a few tricks from one’s bag.”
Rodrigo Capo Ortega, Castres second row: “Being among the six teams that qualified for the knock-out stages is a source of pride. We had to work a lot, but we can now play this qualifier in Toulon. We trained three days in Saint-Lary and I think the team’s spirit can’t be better. This acts as a motivation: we want to work and go as far as possible together.”
Sources: pre-game press conference,,