With last year’s unsuccessful run at the Rochelle Stadium, New Zealand’s opening match on Saturday against Leinster is not to be missed.
Ancient demons that appeared at the time of critical matches. No success without a good scorer, Stade Rochelais knows it when he challenges Leinster’s ghouls, on Saturday (5:45pm) at the Stade Vélodrome, to the Champions Cup final. Last year during the two contested finals and lost to Toulouse, Ihiya West failed in his role as target. “We weren’t good under pressure, and neither was I. We should not stress in our heads, but rather live in the moment. Both times, the team didn’t play its game‘ he admitted this week.
The failures that plagued his team. A very small percentage 50% (5/10) in the two capital matches… In the Champions Cup he missed three kicks (8 points). In 14th place, he missed two attempts, but he also made a disappointing game in the game, but he maintains that those disappointments do not weigh him down when he played a third final in two years. “Last year was our first final. We were a little nervous Progressing. We have another great opportunity this year. We have to play our game, last year, we didn’t play in the two finals.»
Missed Custer in January
Trouble, the opening match for New Zealand – who will join RC Toulon next season – also saw days without this season in the 14 places. The winning penalty kick in her hamstring – and his team finally lost on the wire against CO (31-30) after leading 3-24 after 20 minutes.
But his manager, Ronan O’Gara, refused to confuse him: “It’s a sport, that’s how it is. I will never criticize any of my players. He works hard and is mostly in the shade. I’ll support him a little more this week. What I do know is that we should have killed the confrontation before long and not have to wait until the last minute. In the top 14, we are fortunate to be able to respond next week, which is what we will try to do.
In every final there is stress and tension. After all, it’s all about how you answer
There, in the event of another failure, there will be no second chance. Especially since all points would be expensive against the fleet coming from Dublin, a great machine that swept Toulouse in the semi-finals. “Leinster plays very well, they have a very big squad with a lot of players playing for Ireland. We know it will be difficult. But every final is always a tough match. But we know we have to play a lot more than we did in the semi-final against Racing‘, he insists.
During this semi-final, specifically, West still had many failures. With 1/4 weak facing poles. And the kiwi is aware of this and does not hide it: “It wasn’t a good match for me. One in four is not good. But we won, and that’s the most important thing. We have a chance to do better on Saturday.In front of him will stand Jonathan Sexton, stainless steel about 37 years old, always accurate against poles and sharp for a perfectly oiled Leinstermen.
Duel with experienced sexton
A duel that hardly frightens Ihaia West: “Penalties are like a game within a game. It’s different from the game. We know Johnny is a great player, we know what he’s done with Leinster and Ireland. You’re going to have to put pressure on him. If we give him time to play with the ball or on foot, it will be difficult for us. La Rochelle’s opener seemed relaxed before this shockwave at the top. “You have to take advantage of this moment, live it to the fullest. It will be great, it is in France and we hope the stadium is full. It will be a special day for the club and for all of us.”
Ronan O’Gara did everything in his power to downplay the event, to make sure his forces did not lose their potential at the worst moment. “Ronan knows what happened in the two finals last year when we weren’t there mentally. It gives us a lot of confidence. We have nothing to lose against Leinster.Finally: “In every final there is stress and tension. After all, it is all about how you respond to it. Even if he denies it, West knows he’s expected.
see also – Liverpool’s preparations for the Champions League final
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