At the Vélodrome, the Stade Rochelais players did everything well: they won a prestigious success against the RCT (23-8) and almost ensured their qualification for the semi-finals of the Top 14, which will offer them bonus an upcoming trip “for butter” to Montpellier before the Champions Cup final against Leinster on May 20.
The match: Toulon – La Rochelle: 8 – 23
The first act was a lesson in efficiency. Stade Rochelais was the first to draw. His first penalty, the maritime club decided to send him to penalty. Some playing time later, after several charges from his big arms, it was Will Skelton who found the fault after resorting to video arbitration (0-7, 4th). The tone was set. The Toulonnais were quick to react and get their hands on the ball. They too decided not to attempt the penalties. First by playing quickly by Parisse (11th) or by going into touch in stride following the yellow card received by Bourdeau (11th).
But each time, the action was annihilated by the Var precipitation. Of four highlights, the RCT finally scored only once by Kolbe on a marvel of a diagonal pass from West (25th). Except that the latter against the poles was unfortunately not as precise. He left five points on the way. Baptiste Serin was no more successful in failing his attempt on the siren. At half-time, if Toulon had possession and the initiatives, it was Stade Rochelais who were ahead in the score (5-10).
And the second period started on the same configuration. The Toulonnais went to a penalty, but they lost the ball on the throw (44th). Conversely, three minutes later, La Rochelle opener Antoine Hastoy was quick to score three additional points (5-13). And while the RCT finally put its first points on foot following the entry of Biggar (55th), Hastoy put his team at a distance almost on dismissal (8-16, 58th). Stade Rochelais, sure of its strength, continued its lesson of dispossession. The Red and Blacks, they multiplied the forwards (10 per hour of play). And finally, the meeting ended as it had started. By a controlled and powerful try from Stade Rochelais through Kyle Hatherell, transformed by Hastoy (8-23, 73rd). End of the realism lesson. A relentless victory.
By winning on the lawn of the Vélodrome de Marseille against Toulon (8-23), Stade Rochelais has temporarily taken first place in the Top 14 at the expense of Toulouse, which receives Bordeaux-Bègles on Sunday (9:05 p.m.). One is also the number of points that the Rochelais lack to secure one of the first two places in the standings, synonymous with direct qualification for the semi-finals.
The player: West is expensive
The RCT staff had chosen to establish Ihaia West as an opener. A strong choice. But the former Rochelais, who should also return to La Rochelle next year, missed his match. He notably missed a transformation and a penalty (5 points) when he had nevertheless offered a caviar at the foot on Kolbe’s test. West was replaced by Biggar who was more successful against the poles while Baptiste Serin, who had replaced West on the siren at the end of the first period, also missed an attempt. That is 8 points in total which are expensive. Opposite, Antoine Hastoy comes out with a clear round (5/5, 13 points).