Posolo Tuilagi, the son of imposing former Samoa number eight Henry, once again caught the eye as Perpignan maintained their Top 14 place on Saturday.
The Catalans finished second bottom of France’s top tier which meant they faced the runners up from the Pro D2, Grenoble, in the promotion/relegation play-off.
Taking place at the Stade des Alpes, it was a fiercely contested match between two powerful sides but it was the visitors who got the upper hand, claiming a 33-19 triumph.
Grenoble were the better team in the first period, going 16-11 ahead, but Tuilagi’s early try – plus six points from the boot of Tristan Tedder – kept the away side in contention.
Still only 18, the son of Henry is already beginning to make his mark and his immense strength brought about the game’s first score.
— EK Rugby Analysis (@ek_rugby) June 3, 2023
It was a superb finish with the second-row needing all 150kg of him to cross the whitewash and give his side the lead.
Although Grenoble hit back and were ahead at the interval, the Catalan outfit controlled much of the second period with this try from Sadek Deghmache proving significant.
#TOP14 – La jonglerie du #TOP14AccessMatch
C'est ce qu'on appelle l'instinct de survie 👀Les mains du demi de mêlée de l'@usap_officiel n'ont pas tremblé au moment de capter ce ballon décisif pour le maintien 🤹♂️ pic.twitter.com/SHa3PdRi0B
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) June 4, 2023
It moved the visitors 23-16 ahead, giving them a lead they would not relinquish with Jake McIntyre completing the win by touching down.
The celebrations could duly start and, once the final whistle went, the staggering 5,000 Perpignan supporters in attendance rejoiced, with some of them running onto the pitch.
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) June 3, 2023
They will now play the 2023/24 season in the Top 14, while Grenoble, who finished second behind Oyonnax in the Pro D2, will have to try again next season.