Second half masterclass makes coach deeply regret ever benching Josua Tuisova
Maybe it was due to his catastrophic error that led to a try a week before against Perpignan, maybe he just needed a rest, but Lyon centre Josua Tuisova started on the bench against Stade Francais on Sunday. Come half time, head coach Xavier Garbajosa was rueing his decision immensely.
The Parisian outfit had raced to a 28-0 lead at the Stade Jean Bouin by half time, meaning the game was all but over when he Tuisova replaced Noa Nakaitaci after the break. Or so you would think.
Straight from the kick off the Fijian was part of the action, chasing the kick and putting a tackle in. From there he produced a carrying and offloading masterclass, pinballing off Stade Francais tacklers for 40 minutes. He may not have been on the score sheet, but he did everything but bag a try. In fact, he could not have come any closer to scoring without actually scoring at one point, as he was dragged down just millimetres before the whitewash. However, his carry created the space for centre Thibaut Regard to dart over from the resulting ruck.
But with the clock in the red and with Lyon trailing only by three points, 31-28, Tuisova probably produced the most important intervention of the entire match when he broke from his own five metre line. His break along the wing and chip infield help Lyon work their way into Stade Francais’ half and eventually earn a penalty. Lima Sopoaga converted the penalty to earn his side a draw, but one which will very much feel like a win given the position they were in, and certainly for Tuisova, who won the half he played in 31-3.
The centre will surely find himself back in the starting XV this Sunday when Lyon face Bayonne in the final match of the regular season.
Take a look at his performance: