Castres, first in the regular phase, qualified for the final of the Top 14 thanks to their victory over Toulouse (24-18), defending champion, on Friday in the semi-final in Nice.
The Castres will face Friday, June 24 at the Stade de France the winner of the second semi-final, Saturday, between Montpellier and Bordeaux-Bègles, also scheduled on the Côte d’Azur.
After having already lost its European title last month, Stade Toulouse said goodbye to its Brennus shield.
You have to see a certain sporting logic over the season, since the “little” CO, for the first time in its history, had finished first in the regular phase, ahead of its ogre neighbor, fourth after going through all the states.
In the usual lair of OGC Nice footballers, rather evenly shared between red and blue supporters, Stade Toulousain, as during its victorious barrage against La Rochelle (33-28) last week, had yet set a big pace of entry.
A start with the pedal to the metal rewarded with a try — possibly tainted by a forward — from the 2e minute from international winger Matthis Lebel, who rushed into an interval inside to go flatten between the posts, facing the particularly noisy Castres kop.
Dominating in conquest, the men of Ugo Mola gradually lowered their tone and let their indiscipline the Castrais return to the match thanks to the precise foot of their Argentinian opener Benjamin Urdapilleta.
Emboldened by the two yellow cards inflicted on Australian giant Rory Arnold and hooker Julien Marchand, Castres, after letting the storm pass, could even have taken the lead at the break without a try denied by the video to winger Geoffrey Palis (9-10).
Under a more bearable temperature than that prevailing in Occitania, the Tarn club, much less in demand than its opponent for several months, finally took the lead as soon as they returned from the locker room.
The Uruguayan scrum-half, Santiago Arata, passed in the hierarchy of Castres of the post in front of the local icon Rory Kockott, celebrated by his supporters, went to flatten in trickster at the level of a ruck the first test of his team (16-10 , 43e).
On an individual feat from the Blues opener Romain Ntamack, whose acceleration mystified the opposing defense, Toulouse seemed to pick up the thread of their match for a while.
Toulouse in the image of its season
But the CO, still as combative, tore away to force the decision in the last ten minutes and validate their ticket for the Stade de France for good thanks to a new try, this time scored by the back Julien Dumora.
A match in the image of a jagged season for Toulouse, which had started well before experiencing a major slump in the heart of winter in the absence of its many French internationals, retained by the Tournament of six nations.
Stung in his pride by his heavy defeat in the semi-final of the European Cup against the Irish of Leinster (40-17), the biggest winners of French rugby seemed to have regained its best level last week in the barrage against La Rochelle .
He fell back into his ways and had a necessarily disappointing white season in terms of the quality of his workforce. The recruitment made for next season (Pierre-Louis Barassi, Melvyn Jaminet, Arthur Retière, Ange Capuozzo, etc.) could allow him to bounce back quickly.