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Posts Tagged ‘toulon rugby team’

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Early yesterday morning, 7am, and I’m heading to the market in Castres.

We have six coming for lunch, then three others for dinner. On the menu: blackened salmon for lunch and slow cooked lamb shoulder with courgettes for dinner.

It’s going to be a busy day!

As I approach a roundabout on the outskirts of town a large white coach crosses in front of me and for a moment I wonder what day it is. School buses don’t run on Saturdays.

Then I remember.

The coach is full–but these are rugby fans, not school children–at the start of a seven hour journey to Paris.

Last night at le Stade de France in the capital, Castres Olympique replayed last year’s Rugby cup Finale against Toulon.

It was a surprise that Castres CO were in the Finale again–having had a less than spectacular year.

Toulon, however, were in their pomp–having won the Coupe D’Europe the week before and with the legendary Jonny Wilkinson playing his last game before retirement. They were clear favorites.

But they were favorites last year too–and Castres had triumphed against the odds in a nail- biter. So the mood in Castres yesterday morning was excited. On ne sait jamais! [You never know!]

I sent my photographer along to record the feverish atmosphere.

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But it wasn’t to be. This time Goliath was not to be denied!

Toulon won 18 points to 10.

As  Jonny left the field for the last time, “God Save the Queen” played out through the loudspeakers–an extravagant tribute!

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Castres players watching a Wilkinson kick for goal–and their hopes fade.

The big white coach rolled back through the night to Castres, its tired and disappointed CO supporters reflecting on what might have been.

From chatting with local rugby fans, I doubt anyone on board would begrudge Jonny his final triumph. They are a fair-minded lot and they’d be happy just to have been there to see “the Great Boot” laid to rest!

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The great Jonny Wilkinson’s toothy grin as he holds up the trophy

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