The Rochelais flanker Grégory Alldritt is tackled by two Clermont-Ferrand players, during their Top 14 match, on September 18, 2021 at the Marcel Michelin stadium in Clermont-Ferrand
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His two (lost) European Cup and Championship finals seem far away for La Rochelle. Last season’s scarecrow started it off on the wrong foot and time is already running out.
The maritime club suffered against Toulouse (20-16), Racing 92 (23-10) and Clermont (23-22) three narrow setbacks, but three setbacks nonetheless, which do not offer him any right to error in front of his public of the Marcel-Deflandre stadium against Biarritz.
Distrust: the promoted Basque, impressive commitment at the start of the year, has already brought down two “big”, Bordeaux-Bègles and Racing 92.
The situation is even more alarming for Stade Français, the last in the class with zero points, the worst attack and the worst defense of the Top 14.
“We are very lucid, very honest with ourselves. Some people saw us perhaps more beautiful, but we did not play at our level,” assumes the Parisian coach Gonzalo Quesada.
His men will not have it easy for Jean-Bouin against Castres, one of the only two undefeated teams, with Toulouse.
The three-quarter international center of Racing 92 Gaël Fickou had promised last week a “big questioning” after the defeat in Biarritz (28-19).
Did it take place before the Lyon reception, on Saturday, at the Arena? “It has already happened to us last year to take downs,” replied the third row Wenceslas Lauret during the week. “We have to sting the players and be proud, because we missed it last weekend.”
The Hauts-de-Seine club will necessarily be wary of LOU, the best attack in the championship after its offensive festival against Perpignan (47-3).
What face will Perpignan show against Toulon in prime time on Saturday evening (9:05 pm)?
That of the outside and its two heavy defeats in Brive (36-15) and Lyon (47-3)? Or the one who allowed him to win against Biarritz (33-20) in front of his hot crowd of Aimé-Giral?
His nugget Melvyn Jaminet, left to rest last weekend, will be back against Toulonnais weakened by a virus – “Not the Covid”, according to the Var coach Patrice Collazo – and injuries, including that of their ” talisman “Sergio Parisse, absent for at least three months.
Not yet at full speed at the start of the season, Bordeaux-Bègles will receive Brive, whose good offensive intentions are rewarded with a third place in the standings.
Barely beaten by the Toulouse leader last Saturday (17-15), Montpellier will have a blow to play in Pau to catch up on the points abandoned at home.
Double title holder, Toulouse has already settled at the top of the standings thanks to its three victories in as many matches.
But the game played has not always been up to its ambitions and the Rouge et Noir will try to add the way against Clermont in an Ernest-Wallon stadium which should again be sold out.
“They are a team of very good qualities, very dangerous. But we are not going there to make up the numbers,” said new Irish opener from ASM JJ Hanrahan.
Arrived in the off-season from Munster, he could be associated within the Auvergne hinge with scrum-half Sébastien Bézy, a former member of the Toulouse house, whom he left to free himself from the competition with a certain Antoine Dupont.