Investec Champions Cup – “Facing Toulouse, we are not going to change our rugby”, promises Stephan Lewies (Harlequins)

Investec Champions Cup – “Facing Toulouse, we are not going to change our rugby”, promises Stephan Lewies (Harlequins)
Investec Champions Cup – “Facing Toulouse, we are not going to change our rugby”, promises Stephan Lewies (Harlequins)

Harlequins second row Stephan Lewies knows the fight will be tough against Toulouse on Sunday, for the first Investec Champions Cup semi-final in the English club’s history. The South African also says that his people should keep their playing identity.

Harlequins will play their first Investec Champions Cup semi-final this Sunday in Toulouse. What state of mind are you in?

We are very excited to go play in France. This is the first time our club has reached this stage of the competition so we are very motivated. We know that we are going to face one of the biggest armadas in Europe. They are present every year so it will be a big challenge.

You lost 47-19 during the first opposition, in the group stage. Are you expecting a different match?

In the final stages it’s completely different. Everything is tighter. What we learned during this first confrontation is that Toulouse is a very dangerous team against whom all mistakes are paid for in cash. It has international level players. This Sunday, we will have to be much better than in the first match.

Stade Toulouse can count on several comebacks to prepare for its Champions Cup semi-final against Harlequins on Sunday at the Stadium. Even if there is uncertainty over the presence of Joshua Brennan, injured in a calf.https://t.co/7smJn5r0QL

— RUGBYRAMA (@RugbyramaFR) https://twitter.com/RugbyramaFR/status/1784998365094101090?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

What do you think of Jack Willis, the Englishman from Toulouse?

He is an international class player. He was a star in England when he was younger but then suffered a major injury. The way he bounced back says a lot about his personality. In Toulouse, he plays his best rugby. It’s a real threat. A lot of guys from here know him well.

Against UBB, the game was very open and you narrowly escaped. Shouldn’t we close the game against Toulouse given their individualities?

With Harlequins, we always want to try to play our game and against Toulouse, we are not going to change our rugby. It’s impossible to change your style of play from one week to the next. In fact, we will have to impose our game and not just contain that of Toulouse. We must keep our playing identity. Despite everything, it is true that we will have to be better in defense.

Your direct opponent risks being Emmanuel Meafou. What do you expect from him?

I expect a lot of physicality and big tackles. He is a strong and essential player in the conquest phases. We will have to muzzle him and pay attention to him.

“Castro-Ferreira has everything to become a great player”

Scheduled to replace and promoted to starting against Racing 92, Toulouse third row Mathis Castro-Ferreira produced a superb copy during the 22nd day of Top 14. pic.twitter.com/tHuNsPf1ju

— RUGBYRAMA (@RugbyramaFR) https://twitter.com/RugbyramaFR/status/1785209185950388734?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

It is at the Toulouse Stadium in front of more than 30,000 supporters that you will play. Could you be under pressure?

To be honest, we love playing in France against big audiences. Against Bordeaux it was crazy. It was certainly the best atmosphere I have experienced in my career. But it not only gives energy to our opponent, it also helps us.

While rugby in England has not been at its best for more than a year, two Premiership clubs have qualified for the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals. Is it something strong?

This is very important for English rugby so that it can continue to have a strong position in Europe. The Premiership is very competitive with many teams fighting for qualification. From now on, we have to make the supporters proud and that there are two qualified clubs is important.

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