On the occasion of the first semi-final of Pro D2, Oyonnax was able to hold on at the end of the match to win on his lawn against Vannes (26-21) and will play the final next weekend in Toulouse.
Oyonnax can more than ever believe in a return to the Top 14! First in a regular season that they dominated, Joe El Abd’s players made the most of facing Vannes on their lawn in the semi-finals. However, if the Oyomen got their hands on the ball from the start of the match, the public at the Stade Charles-Mathon was frozen after the first ten minutes. While the penalty conceded by the USO could allow Maxime Lafage to take the three points, the Vannetais were ambitious by playing on the sidelines. On the ball carried which followed, Cyril Blanchard was propelled into the in-goal by his teammates for the opener. A test that the RCV striker did not fail to transform. The Oyomen’s response did not wait five minutes. Under pressure in their own 22 yards, the Vannes defense caved under the pressure. Uncontrolled, the ball was taken by a Charlie Cassang full of opportunism. The scrum-half from Oyonnax took his chance to go to queenJustin Bouraux putting the two teams tied on the transformation.
Grice put Oyonnax back on the right track
The crossover between the two formations continued in the 21st minute, when Nathanaël Hulleu went to improve the offensive ambitions of the Breton club. Breaking two tackles, the former Clermontois opened his way to in-goal to restore the advantage to his training with this try transformed by Maxime Lafage. Half an hour into the game, Justin Bouraux brought the USO back to four lengths on penalty before Rory Grice reassures Oyonnax supporters five minutes from the break. At the end of a long sequence that made it possible to go up the field, the third row left Michael Ruru on the spot to force the passage and allow the first of the regular phase to turn in the lead by a short length at the break. . Indeed, Justin Bouraux did not find the target on the transformation. Not wanting to be scared, the Oyonnax players took advantage of the home advantage to put pressure on the Vannetais, but the latter did more than hold on. In effect, it took sixteen minutes for Jules Soulan, who had just replaced Justin Bouraux at the opener, to score the first three points of the second act in favor of the Haut-Bugey club.
Vannes pushed to the end
Shortly before the hour mark, the latter gave his team a little more air with a second penalty before adding to the bill three minutes later. Having followed a Charlie Cassang breakthrough well, the Oyonnax flyhalf was shifted into the right tempo to flatten. In the aftermath, the USO striker experienced a first foot failure on the conversion. Under constant pressure, the Bretons tried to find solutions. Eight minutes from the siren, Joe Edwards believed he had revived the RCV after extracting himself from a regrouping, but that was without counting on Phoenix Battye, who was able to slip his arm between the ball and the ground to prevent this try. . More was needed to cool the Britons and Joe Edwards had the last laugh with just over five minutes left to play. Between the posts, the third line forced the passage to flatten in good and due form despite four defenders from Oyonnax and restore hope to the RCV, which had returned to only five units. A lost ball in a good position then a badly controlled touch put an end to the suspense. Oyonnax wins on his lawn (26-21) and will challenge Grenoble or Mont-de-Marsan for the title and the rise in the elite next weekend in Toulouse.