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Sunday, April 2, 2023

Rugby Union – Top 14: before hosting Montpellier, USAP seeks balance

Since their victory over the Stade Français on January 28, the USAP have scored many tries (18 in 5 games). But he also charges a lot (16). The eternal balance that must be found between offensive and defensive effectiveness.

Aimé-Giral has fun. Since the collective awareness of the culés about their qualities in attack, last January, the USAP dares and prevails. The strong victory against the Parisians (31-24), found a nice extension against the Paloise Section (49-29), in Brive (24-22) and against Bayonnais (34-27). The problem in Bordeaux is anecdotal, David Marty and his staff decided to let their executives rest that day. The doubles period imposed by the Six Nations Tournament and the priority left to the XV of France, was crossed without flinching by the blood and gold team. For this period, always delicate, the USAP is in the fourth position of a virtual ranking, having added sixteen points in five games. He followed on the heels of Lyon (19 points), Toulouse (18) and Toulon (17).

The satisfaction, of course, came from the finally effective offensive animation. With 18 tries scored in five games (3.6 on average), the Catalan attack is in the lead, only behind LOU (19 tries). On the other hand, the defense has loosened up a bit, which is often the consequence of prolific attacking. He conceded sixteen tries, which is still better than Racing 92 (23 tries conceded), but less than Lyonnais (7 tries). In recent weeks we have reaped the fruits of our effort in the work carried out in training since the start of the season in the offensive sector.F, analyzes Gérald Bastide, head of the Catalan defense. We have turned our offensive intentions around, that is undeniable. The downside of this success is that it is difficult to pursue two concentration axes at the same time. Attracted by this offensive dynamic, he lacked energy on defense. It is not necessarily voluntary, but deep down, in these cases, when efficiency is at the rendezvous, you tell yourself that you are capable of scoring one more try than the opponent.”

find the energy

For the resumption of training on Monday, the group discussion turned on the subject. “The players are aware that the defense must be rebalanced, Bastida continues. We must make the effort to find the small burst of energy necessary to gain efficiency. In a race, in a position, in the intensity of a tackle… The goal at the end of the season is to maintain our defensive efficiency. Otherwise, we run the risk of experiencing a delicate season finale..” Montpellier, champion of France in title, is announced in Perpignan, next Saturday. Undoubtedly a turning point in this delicate end of the championship. And the ideal adversary to position the USAP well on the board .“To beat Montpellier, a team that is very well organized defensively, we will have to refocus our objectives, says Gerald Bastide. I don’t think we’ll get 50 points out of one of the best defenses in the Top 14. But if we get 30 or 40 out of it, we don’t win either.”

Montpellier is the ideal team, the perfect test to see if the USAP has found that unity that its coaches demand. “The positioning, the defensive systems, we mastered them, concludes the old USAP behind that it has become a national technical framework. You just have to refocus individual goals to improve collective performance.”

The start of the week seduced Gérald Bastide, in terms of the intentions of his players. After digesting the serious accident of his young teammate Lilian Pichon, victim this Thursday morning of an open fracture of the tibia-fibula in training, the group has remobilized so that their season finale is in line with the goals they have set. : leave the USAP in the Top 14 while enjoying yourself to the fullest. “The mood forged for two months must continue, concludes Bastide. This team has solidarity values. He went through a confusion like the one that can occur in a family or a group of friends. They are, that is what allowed them to transcend themselves in the most difficult moments”. Your pleasure, we hope, will last a few more weeks. And since Saturday, against Montpellier, current French champion.

Author: gilles navarro

Source: L Independant

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