Retro Stade Rochelais season: look back at the regular phase of La Rochelle | Top 14

After snatching a qualification on the last day and after winning a play-off in Toulon, La Rochelle made an appointment for the semi-finals. A look back at the Maritimes season.

In search of his best level

Last season, Stade Rochelais played all possible matches in competition, reaching the final of the Champions Cup (and a victory to boot) and the final of the TOP 14. A grueling final, which left its mark on this start of the season. The Rochelais did not get off to the best start, only 1 victory in the first 5 matches. But this team has character, and was able to raise the bar at the best of times.

Qualified in the last moments

In a very tight season, the big guys were pushed around for a long time and Stade Rochelais avoided a premature end to the season. But the Maritimes were able to seek qualification for the top 6 in the final days, with 4 matches without defeat in their last 5 matches in the regular phase. They definitely secured their ticket to the final phase on the last day, with a victory against Racing 92 (24-19) before going to face Toulon on their lawn in the play-offs.

The jump-off, or the launch of the season

What if the Stade Rochelais season had really started last week. After a regular phase where La Rochelle experienced the best and the worst, it had to face RC Toulon, in Mayol. The least we can say, it’s that the Rochelais have become intractable again in this match, as they used to last year. They achieved the feat of securing a victory in Toulon, thanks to a very strong defense and very impressive realism. A 29-34 success, and therefore a place to reach the semi-finals in Bordeaux.

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Points left outside?

With Aviron Bayonnais, La Rochelle is the team which has taken the most defensive bonuses away from home. So close, and so far at the same time. With 6 defensive bonuses, Les Rochelais were able to secure the minimum point during their trips, but could have left with better results like in Clermont, Bayonne and Castres where they fell to just one point each time.

Nothing passes in maritime defense

Unlike their next opponent in the semi-final Toulouse, La Rochelle shines more in defense than in attack. The La Rochelle squad is quite simply the best defense in the championship, with 496 points conceded during the regular phase., an average of 19 points collected per day. Now, the ramparts of La Rochelle will have to hold out against the fury of Toulouse.

In Pau, the captain’s winning return

So the Paloise Section was in a more than positive spiral to the point of claiming the final phase, La Rochelle came to play bad tricks in Béarn. Especially since the Rochelais recovered an element of weight, with his captain Grégory Alldritt who was captain and starter for the first time this season. During the 12th day in Pau, he guided his team towards the one and only maritime victory away during this regular season in TOP 14 (20-29).

Successful adaptation for Cancoriet and Nowell

The Marcel-Deflandre public discovered new faces during the off-season, notably the arrivals of Judicaël Cancoriet from Clermont and Jack Nowell, who arrived from Exeter Chiefs. And the two recruits quickly adapted to Ronan O’Gara’s style. Cancoriet is the 6th best tackler in the championship (229 tackles)while winger Nowell was at ease in the center of the field but also on the wing.

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