Ihaia West and Stade Rochelais have a 'season to finish'

Ihaia West and Stade Rochelais have a ‘season to finish’

New Zealand’s opener returned from Stade Rochelais, on Monday, June 21, in a press conference, on the European final, but focused mainly on the upcoming Top 14 final, Friday, June 25 (8:45 pm) in the Stade of France, against Toulouse

How is the beginning of the week going and how are you in the French championship final?

We are very happy that we are not on vacation and have an extra working week. We have a chance to create something special for the club, La Rochelle. Toulouse is a great team, European champions, we played against them four times and lost four times … But in the English language there is an expression that says “Luck for the fifth time”!

Do you have a personal sense of revenge after the Champions Cup Final where you missed a few kicks?

Yeah. I was very disappointed with the result and my performance. These two weeks were hard for me and then I needed to play again to free my head and find my game.. My extension (until 2022, editor’s note)? It’s good to know what I’m going to do next year, it makes things easier, it allows you to play without pressure, and not worry about the future. Obviously I am happy to stay in La Rochelle.

How do you explain this collective recovery after the European disappointment?

The whole team, the whole club bounced back like I said. We had to hold on and we knew we would have another chance. We have a season to finish well on Friday.

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Have you ever visited the Stade de France?

No, this will be my first time on a Friday night…No, Thursday for preparation! It’s a huge stadium, as you saw, on TV, the All Blacks were playing against France when I was young. You also watched the Top 14 Finals and saw what it was like. Of course it will be a little different with Covid and fewer fans, but it will be big.

And as a New Zealand player, what does the Prinus Shield mean to you?

It’s a prize that I really want to win (smile)…Before I arrived in France, when I signed my contract, I watched a lot of Youtube videos, and things like that. You’ve seen what Prinus means to France, how important the championship is, how special the championship is.

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