Pro D2 – Valves: the glass ceiling

Against Oyonnax, the Breton club lost its third semi-final.

At the final whistle, the Vannetais gathered in a circle on the lawn of the Mathon stadium to “to say things to each other” according to the established formula, to also try to evacuate a little of the disappointment left by this dream flown away, so close to the goal. “There are small details that turn a game upside down. The victory was decided in nothing. We can be proud of having given ourselves the means to have this match point at the end of the game, proud, but sad”, assures their captain, Joseph Edwards, paying tribute to his team: “We must not forget that four months ago we were in the second half of the classification. We made a superb comeback, won the right to play this semi-final. Of course we would have liked to go further, but I repeat, I am proud of our team, our end to the season and the performance we have just achieved in Oyonnax.” His trainer, Jean-Noël Spitzer, does not have quite the same speech: “I can’t say I’m proud. We were hungry for the win and above all I’m disappointed.”

Questions about the future

And in the Vannes camp, disappointment seems to rhyme with a few questions. The first mentioned by the Vannes coach relates to certain arbitration decisions: “ I have the feeling that Vannes lacked consideration. During the week, I had a bad feeling after the videoconference we had with the refereeing corps. I informed my staff. Today I have the feeling that this lack of consideration was reflected during the match. Edwards scores under the posts of Oyonnax a try which is refused to us. The central referee leaves it to the video referee to decide.”

But the Breton technician’s questions also relate to the future prospects for his club, which seems to find itself, after a third failure in the semi-finals, after those known against Brive and Biarritz, facing “a glass ceiling “. “To reach the semi-finals, we needed a lot of work, with no room for error. For three months the players have taken themselves in hand. We may have lacked a bit of freshness.”

The observation is not only part of this end of the season which has required a lot of investment and energy from the Bretons, it also carries with it some questions about the future. “as it stands it will be difficult for the athlete to do more than he has done”. Jean-Noël Spitzer is already thinking about tomorrow: “There are serious concerns. We are ending the season with worn-out players. We will resume our preparation later… it can get complicated.” The Vannes camp still remembers the difficulties encountered in getting off to a good start after their defeat in another semi-final, two years ago, against Biarritz. His trainer continues: “We have no patron, no big sponsors to build our budget. At the start of the championship, a team like Oyonnax knows that it will play at the top of the table. We do not have this ability to be in the top 6. We can claim the top 8.”

Vannes has however done much better this season.

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