LIVESTREAM France: Toulouse Ours @ Thonon Black Panthers, June 18, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm ET)

On Saturday, June 18, the second-place Thonon Black Panthers in the French D1 Elite Championship Conference A will host the third-place Toulouse Ours from Conference B in the opening game of the wild card playoffs.

Thonon is riding high after concluding a 9-1 regular season with an upset victory over the top-seeded La Courneuve Flash, a team that they had lost to twice in the past couple of months. On the other side, Toulouse snuck into the playoffs with a 5-4-1 record.

The Black Panthers are definitely the favorites, but anything can happen in the playoffs. Toulouse is led by running back Gerald Childs, the league leader in rushing yards in the regular season with 699. In his first year with the team, the American out of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire has been a reliable presence in the Ours offense. It is not just Childs who sees action on the ground, though, as Toulouse will deploy multiple backs on the field at different times as part of their game plan.

The quarterback is Cameron Valardo, a 24-year-old Canadian who is also in his first year with the Ours. He has had a decent start to his European career, ranking eighth in the league in passing in the regular season with 1,384 yards, to go along with 15 touchdowns and eight interceptions. The receiving leader is Joshua Rinaldo, a six-year veteran of the team. On defense, a recent standout has been Dorian Claude, who has recorded three interceptions in his past two games in the secondary. The pass defense as a whole has been in good form lately, with seven interceptions in the last 2 weeks of the regular season, including three pick-sixes. The defense will need to be great again against a high-powered Thonon offense.

Toulouse Ours @ Thonon Black Panthers, June 18, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm ET)

Fresh off a 38-21 victory over the Flash, the Black Panthers have been firing on all cylinders.

After dropping their week 1 matchup against the Flash back in February, Thonon has won nine games in a row in league play. Led by another first-year Canadian quarterback, Brett Hunchak, their offense has been hot all year ever since being shut out by the Flash in week 1. Hunchak threw for 1,524 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. He even managed to complete the 10-game regular season without throwing a single interception, a truly remarkable accomplishment. Hunchak likes to spread the ball around to multiple targets from the pocket, as the team lacks a standout receiver. Running back Nicolas Khandar is a force in the ground game, ranking fourth in the league in rushing yards with 585. Thonon boasts a well-rounded defense which has stifled opponents all season.

If the Black Panthers keep up their form on Saturday, it will be tough for Toulouse to stop them. The winner of this game will have a tough task ahead of them though with the 10-0 Marseille Blue Stars waiting in the next round.

Watch the game live here. Toulouse Ours @ Thonon Black Panthers, June 18, 19:00 CET (7 pm, 1 pm ET)

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