RC Toulon started its season with two cadors in the position of left pillar: Dany Priso (28 years old) and Jean-Baptiste Gros (23 years old). Arrived this summer from La Rochelle, Priso played eight matches, three as a starter (355 minutes played). For his part, “Jibé” Gros played five matches, including four as a starter (181 minutes).
This competitive environment relegated Bruce Devaux to third place in the hierarchy. Trained at the club, he has already played three games, including one as a starter against Clermont (30-29, September 18, 104 minutes played). “I try to understand why today I play so littleentrusted Devaux to our colleagues from Var Morning. Mentally, it’s not easy. You ask yourself questions and you don’t have all the answers. You reflect, and you try to find the psychological keys to staying the course. »
“We have planned to focus on our young people and versatility”
But the impermanence of sport teaches philosophy: Devaux has now become indispensable. He is the holder on Sunday evening, the only “left-handed” professional available in the Toulon workforce. Priso was selected in Blue. Gros, supposed to follow in his footsteps, fractured his right radial in the last match against Castres (28-20). Florian Fresia (30), operated on his ankle, is unavailable. “Bruce knew he would have this opportunity during the international windowsays hooker Anthony Étrillard. He prepared well. We can trust him, it will match! »
Ten days ago, anticipating the departures of Priso and Gros in selection, Franck Azéma wanted to be reassuring: “We have planned to focus on our young people and the versatility, explained the Var manager. Except that in this specific position and very exposed to contacts, it was necessary to find a double for Devaux. The Azéma-Mignoni duo therefore brought back the young Fabio Gonzalez (22 years old) trained at the club, previously loaned to Chambéry in National. Sunday evening, the coaches rely mainly on the ability of the right pillars Beka Gigashvili and Kieran Brookes to help out on the left. The Georgian will be on the Var bench and will be ready to succeed Devaux. “Beka knows how to do everythingbelieves Kieran Brookes, titular pillar on the right against UBB. He has good hands, tackles a lot, carries the ball. With him it’s as if we had a fourth third line. »
Brookes told us to be ready to “castling” on the left too. For several weeks, the former England international (16 caps between 2014 and 2016) worked hard with physical trainer Sébastien Bourdin. “I weigh 116 kg today. A year ago I was at 128 kg, in England at 132 kg. Franck and Pierre want modern, mobile and available pillars. » With his experience at Newcastle, Leicester, Northampton and Wasps, Brookes says he is confident in his ability to easily switch left: “It’s not easier, just different. One or two scrums are enough to get the bearings. On the left, you only push against an opponent. You’re trying to raise the right pillar. He wants to put your head in the grass. On the left, you mainly use the right part of your body. Your thrust is more dynamic, less defensive. I will play where the team needs. »
Azéma and Mignoni lined up a 6-2 on the bench: two three quarters for six forwards. Among them, the explosive right pillar Emerick Setiano could also be called upon according to the necessities of the fight.