They went two short minutes from this feat. You can tell yourself that by presenting a team that has always been deeply reformed and led by rare European Cup executives – Combezou and Botica on Friday night – Castres Olympique hasn’t been too ambitious in this competition. And that was a shame considering the first two runs so far made against the leaders of Harlequins and Munster. The frustration is even greater on Friday 14 January because after holding out once more at the top in Monster, Tarney (13-16) fell to the end of the thrill and seeing a potential qualifying walk away.
In difficult conditions, on almost frozen ground, it was not the time for great flights. Hats draped over the ears, plump jackets on the shoulders of the stands and on the backs of the coaches, the players wore a sign of thick fog on the icy atmosphere that enveloped this confrontation. Despite the many kicks that punctuated the start of the match in response to these circumstances and a few attackers greeted with numb hands, it was Custer – though accustomed to offering a simpler game – who set the spirits apart as they tried to muster a showdown. Against the European Irish Ogre.
Admittedly, the actions were disjointed and Tarn only led 7-3 in the first half, but they are aggressive in defence, and they weren’t satisfied with sending their striker into the coals. For example, a penalty kick played by hand 5m from inside the opponent’s goal instead of trying to take points against the uprights, a 5m increase in range from full-back Largin, the executioner of four defenders, or again the devastating penetrations of winger Nakosi (38) . Compliance rewarded with fairness by testing Larregain on a pass at the foot of Botica (28th place).
The Irish machine, for its part, was shaken up like its young opening player Crowley (22), and was almost tackled – but by the rules – twice by Custer’s defenders, who opened the scoring before they started to grumble. Koccott’s cunning, stolen balls in contact with Pieterse kept Monster under pressure for a long time. But the Custer family did not manage to take cover, which Thomas Compeso, the three-quarters center at the end of the meeting, regretted.
In the last group we have to produce another rugby, succeed in pouring concrete, and try to try, it’s a shame. We stayed there for 78 minutes, but the big teams didn’t give up and we paid dearly for it tonight.Thomas Compizzo, three-quarters of the carbon monoxide concentrate
Into the BeIN Sports microphone at the end of the meeting
Sometimes overflowing with generosity in defense, Benjamin Buteka’s teammates delivered a few penalty kicks on the ground that Crowley couldn’t fail to embody (3/3). Number 8 from Monster, Combes went on to try hard by spreading from two meters away to clear the brave Custer one breath from the finish, thus recalling the realism of the big teams. With three defeats in the most matches and three defensive rewards, Tarnais has not been eliminated athletically. However, their fate had definitely lurked between their fingers.