Top 14 - Newspaper Review
Labit urges caution from Castres
November 30, 2009
Laurent Labit has urged his Castres squad to keep their feet on the ground © Getty Images
Castres coach Laurent Labit has warned his players to keep their feet on the ground following their 34-6 hammering of Biarritz at the weekend.
The victory put the Tarn-based club five points clear of Perpignan at the top of the table and came hot on the heels of a 30-10 victory against Toulouse the previous weekend.
"The path to the playoffs is a very long one," Labit told La Depeche du Midi. "We know, as do the players, that if we want to reproduce this kind of performance, we have to re-double our efforts in training and not start listening to the little voices who tell us that we're the best."
Labit admitted however, that the club now saw Heineken Cup qualification as a minimum objective for the rest of the season.
"Anything is possible," added Labit. "It's clear that given our position, to not be in the top six and therefore qualified for the playoffs would be considered a failure."
Toulon coach Philippe Saint André had a similar message for his players following their superb 18-22 victory away at Stade Francais.
"We have to stay humble," warned the former Sale Sharks boss.
Jonny Wilkinson kicked 17 points as Les Toulonais consolidated their hopes for a top six place but the England out half revealed afterwards that his team mates' belief in themselves was the major factor in their win.
"We're starting to believe that we can win every match that we play," said Wilkinson, speaking to Midi Olympique. "It's a sign that we're progressing."
Meanwhile, Perpignan president Paul Goze has rejected criticism of a last-minute decision to postpone their match against Bayonne following the discovery of one or more cases of swine flu in the team. Bayonne president Francis Salagoity claimed his team should have been awarded the victory after Perpignan called off the game at short notice and have since lodged an official complaint with the LNR (League National de Rugby).
Goze dismissed Salagoity's claims, branding the complaint "absurd". However, the LNR responded on Monday, saying the situation was "unusual" and that they would investigate.
LNR president Pierre-Yves Revol said: "If it is proven that the club has committed breaches of the procedure that they must follow, they will expose themselves to sanctions decided by the disciplinary committee."
With the Lions' tour to Australia fast-approaching, ESPN's Austin Healey and Mark Durden-Smith sat down to share their memories of the 2001 trip Down Under
Ask John answers questions on the Leopards' tour to Italy in 1974, brotherly Test sides, Pat McGrath, England's games against the Barbarians and Jacques Brunel
"We were only five metres away in the last Test of getting that try and with Jonny's inevitable conversion, we'd have won it." Tom Hamilton talks to Lions fullback Matt Perry