Abadie omnipresent, the La Rochelle bench lets the victory slip away… the tops and the flops

Esteban Abadie delivered a great performance on Saturday evening while the La Rochelle bench and Dillyn Leyds let the victory slip away in the last seconds. AFP / NICOLAS TUCAT / AFP / NICOLAS TUCAT

During this shock of the 13th day of Top 14, the Toulon Rugby Club won on the wire against Stade Rochelais (25-23) and is getting closer to the podium.


Abadie, a timely return

Returning from Marcoussis after appearing in the Blues group to prepare for the opening match of the Six Nations against Ireland, Esteban Abadie delivered another colossal match in his new colors. On all fronts, the RCT third line proved valuable in defense and in the ruck zones but also on the touchline, where he reassured his partners in a sector which has been faltering among the Rouge et Noir since the start of the season. season, and on offense where he covered 46 meters with the ball in hand. Determining the action of his team’s only try, he made the penultimate pass to Duncan Paia’aua, who sent Ben White to the promised land (49th). On fire since the start of the season, Esteban Abadie is undoubtedly the best recruit in the Top 14 this year.

Jaminet, a clinical scorer who wears the RCT

His match was not perfect, far from it, but Melvyn Jaminet provided the essentials where expected. Author of a flawless performance against the poles (7/7), the Toulon scorer scored 20 points for his team, including the winning penalty in the last seconds (79th), which delivered a Mayol audience once again faithful to his legendary fervor. Too generous on the restart, the back nevertheless sinned in his game by surrendering two scrums to the Maritimes after being isolated. A penalty not found also to his disadvantage.

Iribaren’s masterpiece in the first half

He is undoubtedly the strong man of the evening on the La Rochelle side. On fire in the first act, scrum half Teddy Iribaren simply scored all of his partners’ 16 points. Solid against the posts (4/5), he also scored the only try of the first 40 minutes by blocking a clearance from Jérémy Sinzelle after a rapid climb, before flattening between the posts. Less visible after returning from the locker room, in particular because of the Toulon surge, he was replaced by Tawera Kerr-Barlow in the 58th minute.


The La Rochelle strategy did not pay off

It was a gamble from Ronan O’Gara and his staff at kickoff. Stade Rochelais advanced to Toulon with an XXL bench, supposed to tip the scales in their favor if their teammates managed to be in contact after the hour mark. And this was the case because the score was then 22 to 16 in favor of the premises. Quentin Lespiaucq and Georges-Henri Colombe started by taking the place of Silatolu Latu and Alexandre Kuntelia (51st) before Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Will Skelton and Antoine Hastoy brought even more new blood and mastery to the La Rochelle XV. A profitable choice at first, which notably led to a double penalty try with the yellow card of Selevasio Tolofua (66th), guilty of having collapsed a devastating maul in front of his line. Mathias Haddad, Karl Sorin and Yoan Tanga then came into play to preserve the small margin of the Maritimes, who then led by one point. (22-23). But too many inaccuracies in the last moments, and in particular two broken arms in the scrum, a throw not straight into touch from Quentin Lespiaucq and a penalty for a defensive offside, tarnished the overall copy, punished by the penalty of the wins from Melvyn Jaminet. Despite the defensive bonus point, the double European champions may have a bitter taste from this trip to the Var.

Waisea, outings that follow one another and are similar

But where has Waisea Nayacalevu gone? Unrecognizable since his return from the World Cup with Fiji, the three-quarter center once again delivered a performance unworthy of his standards. Against Stade Rochelais, his statistics are distressing with only one meter gained with ball in hand, one missed tackle for only three successful ones, zero crossings and as many post-contact passes in 71 minutes of play. Obviously lacking confidence for many weeks , his match will not allow him to escape his negative spiral.


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