Toulouse Olymique back rower Sebastien Planas has revealed that his team are feeling confident ahead of their League 1 Promotion Final against Barrow.
Toulouse earned a place in Saturday’s game at the Arnaune stadium thanks to beating a depleted York last weekend, and Planas feels that that game helped refocus the team after their loss to Rochdale.
“The Championship was our goal from the beginning, and we have this new opportunity to get there,” he said.
“Against Barrow, it will not be easy, but it will be different. Although we have played and beaten them twice, we know that this team is very creative and will make a strong case for themselves. And it’s a knockout game, so it’s 50-50.
“It will be hard, especially physically, as usual against teams of this calibre. But we are looking forward to playing this game on Saturday.
“We want to win to play at a higher level next season.
“When you play a final and you lose it, all players want to play again to vent frustration and forge ahead, but usually it is the following season, and it’s not easy to move on.
“Fortunately for us, League 1 is different. The week after the game against Rochdale was tricky to manage, but thanks to this competition format, we had to get back to work to prepare and play the semi-final against York, and it did us good.
“While the context made this game unusual [York only had 12 players], but from our side, it allowed us to regain confidence and to prove that we had not lost our rugby skills.
“Afterwards, I would again like to take my hat off to this York team showed real values because they never let go.
“There are not many teams that would have responded that way in that situation.”
Planas felt York showed great spirit in just turning up to play in France at the weekend, and it is facing that kind of spirit week-in and week-out which has proved testing for Toulouse in 2016.
“This season was long, longer than we were playing in France,” he said.
“The British game is different, more physical. Although we have won with big scores, we came out of each meeting feeling chewed up.
“Just like York last weekend, the English do not let go, even if they cannot win, they will fight from the first minute until the final whistle.
“But it was a great season despite everything, we finished top of the regular season without losing a game, we reached the later rounds of the Cup, beating Leigh and played against a Super League team.
“It remains only to finish well by winning on Saturday.”