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'We cannot let this injustice pass' - Furious Toulouse threaten legal action

By Ian Cameron
PA

Trending on RugbyPass

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Toulouse president Didier Lacroix has blasted the EPCR after the competition organisers awarded Cardiff a 0 – 28 walkover victory over the French after their Heineken Champions Cup meeting was scrapped.

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Not unlike Leinster a few weeks ago, Toulouse say they are able to field a full, competitive team despite positive tests in camp – including France superstar Antoine Dupont.

The EPCR have this afternoon canceled the game never-the-less, leaving the French irate, with Lacroix describing it as an injustice in a long Twitter rant.

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The EPCR say that the match risk assessment committee deemed the risk of the game going ahead as ‘too great’.

“Discussions with Stade Toulousain and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby took place before the match risk assessment committee, made up of medical doctors from EPCR’s medical advisory group as well as independent medical specialists, advised EPCR of its concerns as Stade Toulousain had recorded a significant number of positive Covid-19 test results from within its tournament squad,” said the EPCR. “And with the risk of further infection deemed to be too great, regrettably the decision was made to cancel the fixture.”

The Stade Toulousain president was apoplectic, with his comments being broadcast by the official club Twitter account of the European champions this afternoon.

“To understand our frustration today, you have to go back to the second day of the Champions Cup, postponed and then cancelled, against Wasps. We had to receive the English in a full stadium and the sentence compelled us to annihilate.”

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“There followed the postponement of the match against Stade Français, the very morning of the match, on December 26. This day would have been a rugby party with our dear public. The lifting of the restrictions allows us to postpone it to 11/02, still at the Stadium.”

“During this period, we did not complain about the postponements during the doubloons and the Six Nations Tournament because we are proud to contribute to the success of the XV of France. Even if that adds a difficulty to the preparation of matches.”

“During each day, we respect the protocols to the letter and never a postponement or a cancellation has been our responsibility. We apply an even stricter protocol through Jérôme Cazalbou and our medical staff.”

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“This week, the cases of Covid-19 are falling on us, through players who, out of common sense, have themselves tested, proof of their professionalism. On Thursday, the number of our cases was significant.”

“We have adapted our training week so that our players benefit from separate locker rooms and individual sessions. However, today we are able to present a negative and competitive team.”

“I have the greatest respect for the club of Cardiff Rugby but a 0-28 victory on our ground, through this decision, is unfair. We are not allowed to play this weekend against the Welsh, even while our team is negative.”

“The decision to cancel the match and Stade Toulousain’s defeat against Cardiff was disrespectful. EPCR warned Cardiff before us, without taking into account our arguments: A superior Covid-19 protocol, a negative team.”

European Rugby
Antoine Dupont /PA

“Let’s not blame doctors for a final decision. They advise and the authorities make the decisions. I wonder how our previous encounters in Cardiff and Wasps were more secure than tomorrow’s encounter.”

“I’m not saying that everything is done against Stade Toulousain. The first decision to cancel the 2nd round is detrimental for a lot of clubs. But our defeat on this 4th round is unacceptable.”

“We will challenge this decision in court because we are witnessing a total lack of respect. We are playing a competition in which its organizer must justify himself, on many decisions.”

“I want to defend my players today. For 5 weeks we have not respected them. Their daily lives are flouted and their work is not rewarded. They are not given the opportunity to be rewarded.”

“I also want to apologise to our audiences. To the #FamilleST, to whom I no longer know what to answer today, in view of this unacceptable decision. We are working to offer the possibility of rescheduling places, refunds… But today we cannot offer them the opportunity to come to Ernest Wallon to support their favorite players, due to an alleged mistake, which we did not make.”

“We always respect the decision of a referee, from the moment the fault is committed, proven, and it goes against the rule. Today, we cannot accept losing because of a violation of the rule.”

The French giants who won the tournament last year say that they are saddened, given their traditional commitment to a competition that some French sides haven’t also respected.

“We are saddened because we have always respected this competition. We consider it in the same way as the Top 14, every year. I’m screaming loudly today but if we get through to the round of 16, we’ll play it 100 per cent.

Toulouse
Antoine Dupont /PA

“I am in the action and I am not in a political consideration. I carry the word of my club in the name of justice, so that the established rules are applied.”

“The matchday 2 draw is an interpretation of the EPCR rule. Today there is no interpretation. The rule is not respected.

“We have six front row players and even more. We have 23 names to line up and even more.”

“We cannot let this injustice pass. Not to mention our own case, many clubs have already been wronged and it is time for this to stop. We are talking about the credibility of this competition.

“Even if the EPCR does not speak of sanction in this decision-making, how can it be called otherwise?
A defeat with an attacking bonus for Cardiff, on our ground, is of course a sanction.”

“Until now, we were asked to suffer the absence of our adversaries. Today, we suffer our own absence, for a non-existent fault.”

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