Ophelie Tonds and handball players from Toulon want to “let the horses go”.

Furious fist. Saving stops. Calf cramps to pain. Last Friday, Ophelie Tonds gave her all, supported by Toulon’s relentless defense.

But his fifteen parades in less than an hour did not stop Nantes from winning the Toulon gymnasium (24-26). After three failures in the same number of days, the LFH, the Metz-trained TMV goalkeeper and the Rebels are looking to turn the tide this Friday night at 20:30 in a home match against Dijon.

“She is progressing in all three meetingssays his coach Stéphane Plantin. And the growth of the power of the defense, with which it retains a decisive connection, is also important. This is real collaboration. Not forgetting that Ofeli also makes saves, which she owes only to herself. There is no doubt that Toulon will count on their last 24-year-old bastion against Dijon.

The steel goalkeeper, who has a contract with TMV until 2023, talks about this tough opponent and the start of the season. With calmness and determination.

Despite three defeats in three days, can you count on your last performance?

Even if we lose this match against Nantes it could be positive for the future. Moreover, we were all satisfied with the week of work done before this meeting. This is a good guide for further development. Because we tend to ride the roller coaster in the same game and sometimes in practice. But against Nantes, we held on throughout the match. The fight against Dijon will also be tough, but this team seems to be more “accessible”. By reproducing the same type of performance, we could achieve our first victory.

Psychologically, what is the mood of the team before the reception of Dijon?

We really want to win. The first success after three home matches would not be abandoned. We will have to be concentrated from start to finish, defend well and attack well, while trying hard.

A scheme against which in recent seasons the meetings have often been tense…

We still expect such matches. Since I was at the club (1), we have never beaten Dijon. We must reverse the trend, let the horses go home now, before the international break and a few days of rest. Then we will resume physical work.

In addition to the wounded, what do you lack for the first success?

Concentration and intelligence. Be more consistent in training, avoid certain ball losses and gain mental clarity.

Personally you get off high flying against Nantes (15 stops). The ideal situation for gaining confidence?

(Smile). Yes, it gave me confidence. Then, of course, I want to reproduce this in all meetings. But if I have achieved such a result, it is thanks to a very good defense. We worked together. I felt them inside from the first second. They rose and fell, giving more intensity. They communicated well, which is important. I’m behind and I need to keep in touch with them. It really helped me.

However, at certain stops, no one needed you …

(Smile). It’s true… Especially since I had a Marine [Dupuis, ex-Toulonnaise, 3e meilleure buteuse de LFH la saison dernière, Ndlr] ahead, which did not score in four attempts. I admit that it did me good. It was a great pride, because no one in Toulon could have predicted this.

1. Toulon have only beaten Dijon once in six LHF meetings in the past two seasons (including three losses in 2021 playdowns). But Ophelie Tonds was injured during that win (24-34) in Burgundy in November 2020.


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