The editorial: fucking rugby

Monday’s editorial by Emmanuel Massicard… It will therefore be Castres-Montpellier, as in 2018. Next Friday evening in Saint-Denis, the final of the Top 14 will give birth to a form of surprise even if the two Occitans have not stolen anything during the season and in the halves. Surprise, yes, because the vast majority were waiting for Toulouse and Bordeaux, or even La Rochelle before their premature fall in the play-offs. But all finally gave in at the end of a marathon championship which had never put clubs and players to the test so much.

It therefore remains Castres and Montpellier, the first two in the classification, without dams and therefore cooler than their opponents. Amazing, no! Physical and mental freshness remains an essential criterion of performance. But this season, Tarnais and Héraultais have been able to write their history and preserve their men when their competitors were in a hurry, engaged on too many fronts.

Saturday noon, at the time of the locker room draw, Laurent Marti rightly defended the level, the harshness and the requirement of a Top 14. According to him, competition has never been so fierce. True: on the evening of the last day, nine clubs could still claim the title. It is unparalleled, all sports combined. And that makes the grandeur of this championship as much as this final phase worthy of a very high mountain stage with three out-of-category passes to overcome… All of this, above all, don’t forget, after ten months of competition, a European Cup Europe and a grand slam! Above all, do not add more…

It is indicated here that we understand the journey in the form of a roller coaster of certain teams, the rotation in the orchestra seat (Toulouse, Bordeaux, Montpellier, Castres) and the cycles which are linked according to a calendar insane for many.

Please, even if we are far from lightness, charm and aesthetics, let’s not deny this final 100% “combat and pragmatism”. Because, on closer inspection, this Top 14 version 2021-2022 has the finalists it deserves and which resembles it in the depths of its character traits. With arm forts to build impregnable fortresses.

It is therefore not surprising to see the people of Tarn and Montpellier reuniting four years later, they who have changed so much but who, for the former, remain intransigent on adherence to the principles of an unfeigned culture and , for the seconds, have finally unearthed the meaning of their common history. It’s all the salt of this “fucking rugby”, which goes beyond the strict performance of the clubs; or when identity can reverse the flashes of talent.

The case owes nothing to chance since in both camps we find builders and a sacred supplement of soul embodied by emblematic players who are preparing to complete their careers. So remember Rory Kockott, Guilhem Guirado or Fulgence Ouedraogo, to name but a few. Even without playing, these giants dream of finishing at the top after a daunting season. They are among the sublime representatives of a rabid sport. This is also why this shadowy finale touches on the obvious. Men always make adventure.

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