Stade Français – Bordeaux-Bègles (Top 14 semi-final). Laurent Labit: “If we can get the shield by playing like that, we won’t deprive ourselves of it”

Stade Français – Bordeaux-Bègles (Top 14 semi-final). Laurent Labit: “If we can get the shield by playing like that, we won’t deprive ourselves of it”
Stade Français – Bordeaux-Bègles (Top 14 semi-final). Laurent Labit: “If we can get the shield by playing like that, we won’t deprive ourselves of it”

It’s one of the things that could happen. At the start of the season, we all look at where the semi-finals will be played. Even if we are perhaps the surprise guest of the semi-finalists, we have known for a short time that, potentially, we were offered either a derby (Editor’s note, against Racing) or a match against UBB at Bordeaux. After 26 days, we finished as the best away team. We showed that we could produce big performances away from home. Like Paul said, it’s 15 players against 15 other players. There is a little less experience between the two teams than in the other semi-final (Toulouse – La Rochelle, this Friday evening). It’s a fairly open semi-final.

Why are you showing up as the surprise guest?

There was a change of staff. A season that promised to be special with a two-month break due to the World Cup. Our staff did not start the season (Editor’s note, Laurent Labit and Karim Ghezal were on the staff of the XV of France until October). We could expect a season of getting started, of getting started. When we announced in November that we were proud to be in Paris, that Stade Français should be in a position to win titles every year, we thought we were crazy. The objective was to be in the top 6, we qualified directly. That’s why I say we’re the surprise guest: we deserve to be at this level. But Bordeaux is only a step towards what we want to do.

Do you emphasize this to the players?

Thanks to our results, we have been in the top three since the start of the season. We’ve been discussing this with the players for many months. You have to know how to take points, when some are less vigilant, it’s better than having to go and get them at the end of the season. When things go wrong, you have to know how to help yourself. Sometimes all the planets are aligned and it doesn’t come. And others, it happens when you least expect it. If we have to compete over 26 days with Toulouse or La Rochelle, maybe we are missing things. But over 80 minutes, we can fight with them.

This match is summarized as an opposition between an offensive team, the UBB, and another defense, yours. Does this annoy you?

We all want to play very well. It definitely takes time. For me, what makes the quality of a team, of a staff, is finding the best of the players you have and the game that allows you to win. The club’s culture has been focused on conquest and defense for several seasons. I have always praised the work done by our predecessors, the Gonzalo staff left us something which allows us to be here today: we did not start from a blank page. We know we have to evolve. We are looking for effective rugby. But if we have to go and get the shield by playing like we have played all season, we will not deprive ourselves of it.

UBB will be without Matthieu Jalibert and, probably, Ben Tameifuna. What does this change?

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