It is one of the shocks of this 11th day of Top 14, the semi-finalist of the Top 14 in 2022 receives the winner of 2017. The meeting seems balanced on paper, only 4 points separate Clermont from Racing 92, third of the championship. However, by digging a little bit, and delving into the infirmary of the two teams, all is not very equal. Indeed, on the Parisian side, the weather is fine, and despite Fickou’s short injury (2 weeks), and the prolonged absence of Leroux, the Ile-de-France workforce is not too affected by injuries. Conversely, the Auvergne team does not display the same workforce before the meeting, and tries somehow to juggle its various injuries. Showing 19 absentees during the last match against Aviron Bayonnais, ASM recorded the return of a few players, but still counted 12 unavailable players. Among them, almost all of their right pillars, including Slimani, Ojovan and Dzamanshvili. The return of Kubriashvili is to be highlighted, which is good news for the Clermont fray. Then, still at the forwards, the third lines Lucas Dessaigne, Alexandre Fisher and Judicaël Cancoriet will also be unavailable, and for several matches a priori.
In addition, the Clermontois will be deprived of their internationals who think they will not play this weekend, after having chained a lot in selection. They are executives of the team such as George Moala, Damian Penaud, Fritz Lee, Tomas Lavinini or Bautista Delguy. It will then be necessary to count on the freed internationals such as Ezeala, Raka or the return of the Hériteau to the center of the field.
Clermont is no exception in the Top 14, and several teams are marking the blow physically after 10 consecutive and very intense days. Like ASM, LOU and CA Brive also have a well-stocked infirmary. This carnage of injury leads to the consequence of an overloaded calendar, both in title, and for players participating in international meetings. Then, the European Cup will also be added to this, with the arrival of South African franchises which have caused a scandal. This means extra matches for players, but also grueling travel and less recovery. The risk of injury is then much higher. Let’s just hope there won’t be too much damage for the resumption of the Top 14, and knock on wood for our internationals.