The main reactions after Stade Français vs. Toulon
Here are the main reactions of the Toulon and Paris staff and players after the game between RCT and Stade Français, last Sunday, Day 22 of the Top 14, which saw the men in red and black lose 17-11.
Guilhem Guirado, RCT hooker: “We knew the context and we knew they were expecting us. We responded quite well, but the turning point in the game was at the 23rd minute, when Juanne Smith made a forward pass just in front of the Parisian goal-line as we were 6-3 behind. If we had scored, it would have been a different game, but Waisea then scored a try and the harm was done. Overall, we made too many mistakes, we dropped the ball too many times and our game was not precise enough for us to grab an away win. The level of the game was quite low, but the team that had the most heart won. We have to talk things over if we want to be a match for Clermont in the European Cup quarter-final. From Monday onward, it’s going to be tough. We bring no points from the game. Stade Français showed they had heart and they were playing for their lives. We had prepared for the game on account of this, but we were too sloppy in the early parts of the game. Another crucial moment was at the 20th minute, when Van der Merwe picked up a yellow card, and we then didn’t score a single point. Our scrum remains the only positive thing, but it’s not enough. We now have to look towards the European Cup quarter-final against Clermont, a team with a very solid game plan. Tonight, we were not precise enough and we couldn’t hope for anything better. There are four games to be played in the Top 14 and the other results of the day were favourable to us. We’ll be playing three capital home games. Many teams will want to enter the top 6 and we’ve been warned. We’re looking for better days.”
François Trinh-Duc, RCT fly-half: “We were up against a Stade Français team that showed they had a heart and played together. We could not impose our own rhythm and we couldn’t create opportunities when we had the ball. It was difficult for us to go forward at every impact, so it was difficult to stick to our game plan, even if we forced them into mistakes sometimes. We have to work again, the week ahead of us is going to be crucial to prepare for the European Cup quarter-final. We really needed points, we didn’t think about the Clermont game, we had to win, so we were very disappointed when the final whistle blew.”
Laurent Sempéré, Stade Français hooker: “A huge pressure was on us and we realized that everything was temporary, that we were a mere few players in the history of the club. So, we want to enjoy it to the full. Words had to be followed up with actions: it was far from being perfect, but we played as a team, as we have done for several weeks. The strategy soon became secondary.”
Gonzalo Quesada, Stade Français manager: “It was quite a difficult game to prepare. I had told the players they were playing for their honour after what they had done last week, playing for the past and the future of the club in the Top 14 as well. They realized the task they were facing and they delivered. They put their bodies over the goal-line as a means of defence.”
Sources: lequipe.fr, sport365.fr, Canal Plus, AFP, post-game mixed zone interviews and press conference.