The Hong Kong Telegraph - 'Destiny in our hands', says Toulon winger Villiere

Hong Kong -


'Destiny in our hands', says Toulon winger Villiere
'Destiny in our hands', says Toulon winger Villiere

'Destiny in our hands', says Toulon winger Villiere

France winger Gabin Villiere says winning the Six Nations Grand Slam has left him hungry for more silverware with his club Toulon as a climactic end to the regular Top 14 season draws closer.

Text size:

While Les Bleus rarely looked troubled en route to a first Six Nations title in 12 years, it hasn't been all plain sailing for Toulon, who sit ninth in the Top 14 ahead of Saturday's tricky away match against Lyon.

There are just five regular-season matches left, with up to 11 clubs still in the running for the top six play-off spots.

Toulon have amassed 46 points, just eight behind fourth-placed La Rochelle, while Castres and Lyon also have 54pts in fifth and sixth respectively. Then come Racing 92, three points further back, and Clermont (48), while Pau and Stade Francais, both on 45pts, are breathing down the backs of Villiere's team.

"Well, we're no longer playing in the relegation zone," the winger told AFP. "And we don't deny ourselves the right to dream a little bit even if we remind ourselves that it's going to be very complicated.

"We'll try to win these final matches because we tell ourselves that we still have our destiny in our hands, even if there are only big matches left.

"We haven't had our last word yet. As long as there is hope, we will try to keep it alive and that starts with the match this weekend in Lyon."

Villiere added that once Toulon had moved away from the bottom of the Top 14, with Biarritz sitting last with 24pts, they had "nothing more to lose".

"We want to enjoy ourselves, have fun and show the state of mind that we have shown in recent matches so as not to have any regrets.

"The end of the season is fast approaching. Guys are going to leave us and these end of seasons pass very quickly, so you have to savour them."

Villiere said he was fully fit despite his efforts for France and complaining of fatigue after last weekend's important 32-22 win over Clermont.

"It was good to get back to the house, all the guys and the club, to touch back down on earth again."

But winning the Six Nations trophy, Villiere said, had made him focus on more silverware.

"Having won a title it gives you more motivation to go and seek something with the club."

- Dupont return to Castres -

Saturday's early match sees Villiere's international teammates, Antoine Dupont and Anthony Jelonch, make a return to their old stomping ground when Toulouse take on close neighbours Castres.

Dupont and Jelonch both turned out for the Castres youth team and their coach at the time, Thierry Bourdet, insisted the Toulouse duo would be welcomed back with open arms.

"They left on good terms, it's part of a logical continuation in their progression," Bourdet told AFP.

"It fills us with pride that we have had them with us. Players like that, we don't have them all the time. We say to ourselves that we had two jewels."

Elsewhere, leaders Montpellier travel to Perpignan, second-placed Bordeaux-Begles welcome La Rochelle, who are fourth, Clermont host Brive, and Pau are at struggling Biarritz.

Sunday's one match is the Parisian derby with Racing 92 taking on cross-city rivals Stade Francais at their La Defense Arena. The game is one of three to be officiated by foreign referees, in this case Ireland's Andrew Brace.

Welshman Craig Evans will be at Perpignan and Georgian Nika Amashukeli on hand for the Bordeaux-La Rochelle clash.

Fixtures (all times GMT)


Castres v Toulouse (1300), Clermont v Brive, Biarritz v Pau, Lyon v Toulon, Perpignan v Montpellier (1500), Bordeaux-Begles v La Rochelle (1905)


Racing 92 v Stade Francais (1905)