Medard concerned Toulouse could tire
May 17, 2010
Maxime Medard is hoping that Toulouse still have enough gas left in the tank to beat Biarritz © Getty Images
Maxime Medard has admitted that fatigue could be an issue for Toulouse in Saturday's Heineken Cup final clash with Biarritz at the Stade de France.
The three-time champions' involvement in the Top 14 play-offs has meant that they have been in action for the past two weekends but their Basque opponents have not played since beating Munster on May 2 to book their place in Paris. Medard freely admits that Toulouse could tire towards the end of Saturday's game but is clinging to the belief that momentum might count for something.
"We cannot tell in advance whether the fact that Biarritz players have had more time to recuperate and prepare than us will make a difference on the day," the France international said. "They might be better rested than our players, and we might get tired before them towards the end, but they might have a slower start because we could be sharper since we have not stopped playing. Who knows?
"It will always come down to details out there on the field. Mentally and physically it is clear that we both are at different stages. But we know each other well and we lost on their turf the last time we met in the Top 14 in Round 23 so psychologically they may also have a slight advantage.
"We will only find out if we have enjoyed a good season if we get some silverware. If we don't win anything all we will be able to say is that we have made a relatively good season but without a title it will not be complete."
However, while Toulouse are heavy favourites to prevail, Medard is not underestimating the threat posed by Biarritz, and particularly their American winger Takudzwa Ngwenya, who scored arguably the try of the season in the Basques' win over the Ospreys in the quarter-finals.
"Biarritz are loaded with experienced players such as Dimitri Yachvili and Imanol Harinordoquy and they also have new talents like Taku Ngwenya," said Medard. "He has improved immensely in such a relatively short time too, because he has only been at Biarritz since after the RWC2007.
"Initially his performances were based almost exclusively on his pace and running and he used to struggle somewhat with his handling skills. Today he has caught up on that and he is an excellent player. He is amongst the best players in the Top 14 and the Heineken Cup. We know his qualities and it will be hard to stop him."
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin