Top 14: “Reality has caught up with us”, why Racing could not avoid a correction against Toulouse

Top 14: “Reality has caught up with us”, why Racing could not avoid a correction against Toulouse

2023-06-10 10:52:31

Neither anger nor sadness. Laurent Travers, the historic manager of Racing 92, led the Hauts-de-Seine club on the field for the last time, before taking over as president behind the scenes. A last in the form of a crack: 41-14 against Toulouse, Friday in San Sebastian, in the semi-final of the Top 14. But “Toto” did not appear more affected than that by this failed outing. Probably because he knows his team well and he expected it a bit…

“On the match, there is nothing to say, we are not invited, explains Laurent Travers. It’s like the season. We couldn’t be consistent from the first to the 80th minute. We delude ourselves about certain actions, such as the season where we had good games and then bad ones. When we reach the last four, it is the consistent teams that are rewarded.

Even qualifying for the semi-finals, after a play-off won on the ground of neighbor and rival, Stade Français, had in it the seeds of a future defeat. “Against the Stade Français, we had 15-20 minutes of failure that we could have paid dearly for, recalls Laurent Travers. It happened because we had a little margin, but against Toulouse or La Rochelle, it no longer works”. Inconstancy, always.

“They were ten tones above”

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, plague the three-quarters international center. We lost everything, scrums, collisions, hits, throws, everything, everything, everything… There is no comparison. They were not one tone but ten tones above. “A failed performance which is explained by the shaky season of Racing, analyzes Gaël Fickou. “We are going 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 a few good matches (victory in Toulon, or against La Rochelle) with defeats at home (against Stade Français) and fought to the end to qualify in the first six. “It’s been a mixed season, summarizes the captain of Racing 92 again. It was complicated for us. You can’t tell yourself that it’s a good season. When you are at Racing, you are there to win titles. We don’t care about the semis. The semi-finalists, we forget them, you only remember the champions. We tried everything, we tried, but we were at the max, we couldn’t do better. »

Like this semi-final against Toulouse: “We knew there was this gap, but we hoped. And reality 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 beautiful recruits arriving, a new staff (Englishman Stuart Lancaster becomes manager). There are a lot of things that will change at Racing, I hope for the better…”

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