The game: 33-28
Without insulting the Rochelais and even taking into account the shared tries, four everywhere, and the rather close final score, this semi-final was folded in less than twenty minutes, the first. With two flashes from Antoine Dupont and as many tries (Pierre Fouyssac in the 8th, Dupont in the 13th), a conversion and a goal from Thomas Ramos (18th), the Toulouse team led 15-0.
All the more easily since the maritime opener Ihaia West had missed – as one might fear – an easy penalty goal against the posts (5th), then a clearance. Destabilized, the Rochelais played ball in their twenty-two meters and if they scored zero passes by Wiaan Liebenberg (25th) on their first highlight, they suffered the rest of the time, pierced by Toulouse inspirations who deserved another benefit than two meager goals scored by Ramos (29th, 36th).
Sluggish, unable to step up their game and clumsy in the first period, the reigning European champions were lagging behind (21-7) at the break. They then showed a better face in the wake of their bulldozer and captain Grégory Alldritt scoring in force behind the scrum despite three defenders (56th, 21-14). But with a delicate foot pass, Thomas Ramos propelled his winger Juan Cruz Mallia into the maritime in-goal (62nd, 26-14) just after the hour mark.
Before Selevasio Tolofua slalomed in an elastic defense to serve Romain Ntamack at height for the unstoppable try (69th) which offered his people, despite the La Rochelle last stand (tests by Pierre Bourgarit in the 79th and Jules Favre in the 80th), a semi-final in Nice against Castres (Friday June 17, 9:05 p.m.).
Like the number of consecutive victories obtained by Toulouse over La Rochelle since September 2019.
The fact: a double-point Toulouse defense
To block the Rochelais who like to challenge the opponent on the line more flush and in the axis of the field, the Toulouse had therefore set up a double trigger defense. Very quickly at the edge of the rucks and mauls to stop the first attacker and, at the same time, in an inverted position wide to cut the outsides. The Rochelais did not know how to extricate themselves from this perfectly set trap and only found their salvation in a series of percussions at zero pass flush behind penaltouch (25th) and a departure from their number eight behind melee (56th).
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