full, RC Toulon wants to confirm its improvement in La Rochelle

Second in the standings after two convincing successes, the RCT, which can count on all of its vital forces, passes a serious test this Sunday on the lawn of the Stade Rochelais.

The Rugby Club Toulonnais (RCT), after a success in Pau (17-34) and a show of force in Mayol on Saturday against Brive (47-0), is in second place in the Top 14 ranking thanks in particular to the return of an overstaffed workforce. Despite a quality group and one of the largest budgets in the championship, the RCT has not qualified for the final stages since 2017. The main fault is the recurring unavailability of players who have left for selection or are too often injured.

Aware of the problem, the Var management tried to find strategies. In vain. Until this season? If all the positions seem doubled, even tripled in some cases (except at the opening where the search for a number 10 is still in progress), the RCT did not reassure in September.

The late arrival of some internationals and cascading injuries sent Toulon back to an unpleasant flashback to last season. And the defeat in Perpignan (19-13) did not help. But she still put “a good slap to all, staff and players”said general manager Franck Azéma after Saturday’s victory at Mayol.


To remobilize, Toulon was especially able to count on the return of many players, like the Argentinian Facundo Isa, returned from selection. “It’s nice to see the guys knocking on the door. When you move and Duncan (Wall) and Cheslin (Kolbe) want to be part of the trip, even if they can’t play, these are good messages because we feel that this group lives well together“Added Azéma, who still saw Gabin Villière’s ankle injury extend.

Kolbe and Paia’aua therefore inaugurated their first of the season on Saturday, scoring both a try. The Australian was partnered with Waisea Nayacalevu for the first time in the center and the pair have already shown a good bond. “For the past fortnight, I have felt that everyone is pulling themselves up. Everyone wants to participate, to bring something extra. It creates an emulation within the group that must be kept“, explains Charles Ollivon, the Red and Black captain.

These returns also make it possible to integrate young people in a serene way into the rotation, unlike last seasons where they mainly had to make up for shortcomings. Gaël Dréan (21), who arrived from Fédérale 1 this summer, has already scored two tries and offered two assists against Brive on Saturday. On Sunday, he also allowed Jiuta Wainiqolo, reigning Olympic champion at 7 with Fiji, to breathe.

New leaders on the Rade

The Mignoni-Azéma coaching duo will be able to rest their troops without losing quality. If he had chained on the first three days, Sergio Parisse, 39 spring, has been able to recover since. Just like Mathieu Bastareaud, 34, who was able to avoid taking risks after a slight warning to the adductors. With this workforce almost complete, leaders are also emerging in a group that has long lacked leaders.

Facing Brive, rookies Benoît Paillaugue (34) and Waisea (32) have regularly spoken and also seem to bring their added value in the locker room. “There is quality and everyone wants to play. The coaches will certainly be scratching their heads for the compositions but there is a healthy group that wants to give the maximum“Explains Paillaugue, who took over from Baptiste Serin on the bench on Saturday.

Thanks to this agreement, Toulon is once again playing the leading roles. And the Var club will try to strike a blow Sunday evening at the reigning European champion. “We’re going to go up another notch in La Rochelle next week, warns Azéma, and that’s where we’ll see where we are.»



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