The Blues are not playing this weekend. And, yet, the duplicates have struck again. It’s like that. It’s modern rugby, right now, in France. The Habs are preparing, ten days before, to face the terrible Fijians, who are emerging from a Covid-19 epidemic, during a thrilling competition, the Autumn Nations Cup, also bringing together the Scots and the Italians in their pool, formidable adversaries. And, while the best rugby players in France are sharpening their crampons in Marcoussis (Essonne), the clubs which provide them – and which, in the process, keep the system alive – are no more than a shadow of themselves.
This Saturday afternoon, the Toulouse Stadium, without Dupont or Ntamack, has once again lost feathers, at home against Castres (16-16). A third game in a row without a win. A few hours later, Racing saved the furniture in an empty auditorium by snatching a success from the nose and beard of Béarnais which gave them much torment. The Ciel et Blanc have beaten Pau (24-22) and remain in the leading pack of the Top 14. That’s all you will have to remember from this disputed meeting far from the eyes, in the almost agonizing silence of a setting deserted, Paris-La Défense Arena.
An elephant passed through a mouse hole
Chavancy, Machenaud, Beale or Lauret were there, but the sluggish Ile-de-France machine they were handling had nothing to do with the overpowering mechanics that reached the European Cup final three weeks ago. We even came close to burlesque. Without Chat or Baubigny, the two hookers summoned to the Blues, the Sky and the Whites lined up a young 19-year-old, Jonathan Maïau at the head of the gondola. His match lasted a quarter of an hour, the time to take a Béarn mastodon on the temple and come out with a concussion.
It is therefore the pillar Eddy Ben Arous who came into play to occupy a position he does not know. “My teammates did everything to make my life easier on the throws in touch because I could have thrown a lot of pizzas”, laughs afterwards the person concerned. His scrum-half Maxime Machenaud diplomatically underlines that “he did very well”, but the feeling released is more akin to a kind of disillusioned disbelief than a frank laughter. Hexagonal rugby is not right. Racing, an elephant that has passed through a mouse hole, is an illustration of this, reluctantly.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr