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Toulouse-Castres: Mallia in an armchair, Raisuqe next to the plate... The tops and the flops


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Toulouse-Castres: Mallia in an armchair, Raisuqe next to the plate... The tops and the flops


Between the injury of Romain Ntamack, the adventures of Antoine Dupont in rugby sevens and the mobilization of Thomas Ramos with the XV of France, Toulouse had reason to worry about its hinge. But after several different combinations, Ugo Mola seems to have found the winning formula with the pair Paul Graou-Juan Cruz Mallia, flamboyant against Castres (33-6) this Saturday at the opening of the 17th day of Top 14. The first showed himself very fair in his decisions at the edge of the rucks and was constantly in support of his three-quarters when they crossed. The second, usually center, back or winger, can definitely add a new line to his CV. The role of opener suits the Argentinian perfectly, who scored a double this Saturday afternoon. First alone (4th), then well served by his scrum half (49th).

Absent since January 20 and a knee injury, the powerful second row (2.03 m, 145 kg) found a starting place this Saturday. Not content with having been in the progress on each of his percussions, Meafou also went there with his attempt (20th). In force, of course. He was retained by the staff of the French XV to prepare for the Six Nations Tournament match against Wales on Sunday March 10 (4:00 p.m.). Just like his teammates Thibaud Flament, who also made his return against Castres, and Pierre-Louis Barassi, once again in good shape. Promising, for Toulouse as for the Blues.

The Englishman had not worn the red and black jersey since the 14th day and a victory against Bayonne. His experience did a lot of good in the young Toulouse third line, which also included Joshua Brennan and Léo Banos, both 22 years old. Good in the lineup, Jack Willis also stood out with several important scratches (11th, 61st). He could even have tried if Matthis Lebel had not forgotten him in a 2 against 1 to play on the left wing (47th).


Powerless with the ball in hand, the tall (1.90 m) Fijian winger stood out above all for a bad move in the first half, when he roughly tackled Paul Graou when the referee had already whistled a penalty. Enough to trigger the first scuffle of the match. At the start of the match, he tried to surprise the defense by quickly playing a penalty from 5 meters. This earned him a return to the Toulouse goal (9th). Also note a disagreement with his rear, which resulted in a forward move (12th).

His match can be symbolized by this confused action that occurred in the 49th minute. Present at the edge of a ruck in his camp, the Tarn scrum half had his hand crushed by a partner and wriggled in pain. Enough to leave space for Paul Graou to accelerate then serve his opener Juan Cruz Malla, who went to score Toulouse's fourth try. Deliberate but imprecise, Fernandez was replaced by Gauthier Doubrère from the hour mark. The usual holder Santiago Arata can sleep soundly.

The CO rear had nothing to chew on offensively. It was more defensively that he distinguished himself with some well-felt tackles, scratches and saves. But he gradually foiled it. It is he who is directly responsible for Toulouse's last try (58th) with an imprecise pass intercepted by Matthis Lebel. It was two minutes before a nasty hand fault in the Toulouse camp (60th), annihilating one of the rare offensives of his team. Finally, he was cut down by Meafou in the 63rd minute and had difficulty getting up. An afternoon to forget.

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