facing Stade Toulousain, La Rochelle wants to break the curse

facing Stade Toulousain, La Rochelle wants to break the curse
facing Stade Toulousain, La Rochelle wants to break the curse

There will still be a place in the final at the end. However, we would swear that the Rochelais really felt the ambient air, which places them well behind the Toulouse residents on the bookmakers’ board. It must be said that the leading position in the regular season, the Champions Cup title and the great play of Ugo Mola’s men fuel the little music of the place that would be reserved for them at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille next week, in the final. .

“I respect the opinions of others,” says La Rochelle manager Ronan O’Gara.

Before specifying: “but it’s wasted emotion to concentrate on that. We lost the final last year, but I can sleep well, because we played well for 78 minutes. But we lost A match lasts 80 minutes. We have to confirm that tomorrow evening. I always loved the phrase that says that pressure is a privilege, but there is a huge carrot. to do what Stade Rochelais has never done. So let’s go!” Who would blame them for losing to the Toulouse machine?

The curse of the final stages against Stade Toulousain

Here again, Captain Grégory Alldritt does not entirely agree. “The objectives are clear, we want to win. They perhaps have more to lose and we more to gain, but we have every chance. We have to be up to our standards. We are coming back well, we performed well in Toulon but We have to raise our level.” And there is no question of removing responsibilities when approaching the penultimate step towards a title. “We have to be under pressure and be afraid of losing. We can’t arrive at the match without being afraid of losing. It’s serious if we lose!”

And break the curse of the final stages against Stade Toulousain: since 2019, five times the two teams have crossed paths in decisive matches, with the same result, unfavorable to the Rochelais, whether in the Top 14 (2019 semi-final, finals 2021 and 2023, play-off 2022) or in the Champions Cup (2021). With a common denominator? “The two teams are always face to face. Some matches we got through, others we were more generous with them. We know that what happened, we no longer control it. I just hope that we will be there tomorrow.”

Forgotten the adventures encountered, such as Botia’s red card at Twickenham in 2021, the fatigue of the festivities of the first European title in 2022 and especially the trauma of Romain Ntamack’s deadly try last year. An extended season this year, marked by checkered results, injuries and doubts, a play-off match in the legs last Saturday when the Toulouse executives have been fresh for four weeks and the Champions Cup final won against the Leinster.

“Favorite or underdog, it’s not interesting for me”

However, the coach did not need to make a rant, as before Toulon, to boost his troops. “No, this week was different. We played a match late on Saturday evening, we took the plane on Sunday morning and with the adrenaline after the match, it was difficult to sleep. We didn’t start the preparation than Tuesday, but everything was planned like that An hour of training on Wednesday… but no, I stayed calm this week. And everyone tried to prioritize recovery, without losing energy.

But, close to the outcome, O’Gara wants to believe in a different face of his team. Not tired of listening to it. “No, we’re good. The medical staff did a great job. A different season has started since last week, we’re in good shape, Toulouse played a month ago and is rotating their team. We have enormous respect for the opponent but I always believe in our collective, we are hyper motivated, determined, favorite or outsider, it is not interesting for me. We want to show our true face, that of several years of work, not just that of. ‘a season.”

Original article published on RMC Sport



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