Stade Toulousain during the Top 14 victory over La Rochelle (39-23), Saturday at the Ernest-Wallon stadium.
Frédéric Scheiber / AFP
Toulouse has not hosted a European Rugby Cup quarter-final since 2010.
On Sunday, the Irish from Ulster will present themselves to Ernest-Wallon.
The match, initially scheduled in front of more than 33,000 people in an incandescent Stadium, will be played in front of 5,000 spectators at most, against a backdrop of the Covid-19 threat.
More than 10 years that Toulouse has been waiting for this.
On Sunday, the self-proclaimed capital of French rugby will host a quarter-final of the European Cup, with the arrival of the Irish from Ulster, initially scheduled for April 5, but postponed due to Covid-19.
In the spring of 2010, the Stade Français (in quarter, 42-16), then the Dubliners of Leinster (in half, 26-16) had fallen at the Stadium, each time in front of 35,000 hot boiling spectators.
The gang in Jauzion had finished the job at the Stade de France in a close final against Biarritz (21-19), with the key to a fourth continental coronation, the last to date.
Only, the big Sunday party so long hoped for will have more of a Tupperware meeting air.
“It had to be an exceptional match, it had everything to be a moment shared with our audience, at the Stadium, observes manager Ugo Mola.
It's almost a shame to have to play in these conditions, but complaining won't help.
"This Thursday noon, the Toulouse manager said" a little fatalistic ".
It was then always a question of a gauge of 5,000 people, as last Saturday for the reception of La Rochelle, in Top 14 (39-23), when the supporters had ambianced as they could a chamber of 19,000 places.
#STULS, Ugo #Mola: "I would have liked to create a good event around this quarter-final. Despite the difficulties, we managed our week to prepare for a very high-level match."
- Stade Toulousain (@StadeToulousain) September 17, 2020
But it may be less, depending on the prefectural decisions expected on Friday to deal with the upsurge of the coronavirus in Haute-Garonne.
"Everything that is off the field, I do not think about it too much", evacuates the opener Romain Ntamack.
But a little all the same.
“We must make the supporters proud,” asserts the 21-year-old prodigy.
In particular "those who will not be able to come and attend this match and those who dreamed of this meeting at the sold-out Stadium".
A “death in the soul” relocation
And we are not even talking here of the shortfall estimated at more than 600,000 euros from this relocation of the Champions Cup quarter-final to Ernest-Wallon (19,000 places), announced "with death in the soul" last week by the president Didier Lacroix.
“The principle of our sport and its final stages is to bring together, attract, unite and generate emotions,” continues Mola.
We would have liked to have a full stadium behind us.
In key moments, it is obvious that it weighs, that it has added value.
If they manage to cross the pitfall of Ulster, unfortunate finalist last Saturday of the Pro 14 (ex-Celtic League) against Leinster (27-5), the Rouge et Noir will struggle with the winner of the 100% English duel Exeter - Northampton in the semi-finals, September 26.
On the ground of the first named if the logic is respected, in Toulouse in case of exploit of Northampton.
In front of how many supporters?
Top 14: Thomas Ramos goes out of his way for Stade Toulousain
Coronavirus at Stade Toulousain: The Ernest-Wallon stadium is transformed into a giant screening lab
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