Before training on the lawn of the Allianz Arena this Thursday, the Castres went to a press conference at the start of the afternoon to deliver their final impressions before their semi-final on Friday against Toulouse, their best enemies. Even if Pierre-Henry Broncan, the coach of the Tarn team, declared that the notion of derby could not exist for this very particular duel: “A derby is when you play in Castres, or in Toulouse, not in Nice for a semi-final. »
Same reverse of the hand when he was asked if the two confrontations of the regular phase, including the slap received in the first leg (41-0), could serve as a basis for work. The last time Castres played a last four was in 2018, and the epilogue was joyful with a final victory.
“Not even a kilometer of motorway arrives in Castres”
“The objective was to qualify for the final phase, continues the technician, it’s a status that we assume, no worries at this level, even if the clubs are arming themselves more and more, and it’s harder and harder…”. A status to assume, while remaining hidden, behind the big cars of the championship. A position that suits the club well, and this small town “landlockedsays Broncan, with not even a kilometer of motorway reaching Castres. We stay between us, we are isolated, the players work well, spend a lot of time together, even outside of rugby. »
The unknown rhythm
His players who haven’t played much in recent weeks have worked a lot and well since the end of the regular season. There remains the unknown of rhythm. “We will see for the rhythm, explains Pierre-Henry Broncan. We have prepared well. What I know is that in the final phase, in the dam, there is not too much fatigue. It’s easier to recover than in winter, after an away game and sores. »
He was also questioned about Toulouse individuals, and in particular Antoine Dupont. Is there a plan to keep it from shining? “Apart from making him eat Pizza Buitoni, I don’t see. »
After 15 minutes of interview, the coach gave way to three grumblers of the workforce, three former, experienced in the final phase. Mathieu Babillot, Julien Dumora and Geoffrey Palis were there in 2018, even if the last named was seriously injured and away from the field.
“I reviewed a lot with the referee on the rules, in the event of a tie”
The weight of their experience will help the team to tackle this final stretch well. “Four years ago, I was younger, recalls Mathieu Babillot, the captain. I was more carefree too. But the values of this club have not changed. We tried to prepare the group as well as possible, with other leaders. A lot of guys took responsibility. »
Very busy with the preparations, Babillot however found the time to talk to Cédric Clavé, the referee who accompanies the CO: “I reviewed a lot with the referee on the rules, in the event of a tie. I’m pretty well off. » Babillot has planned everything, even the speech he will give if his team takes a red quickly… To succeed is to plan.