"It's not because it's been three semi-finals in a row that it's something normal", recalled Saturday Grégory Alldritt, third row and captain of La Rochelle, holder of the Champions Cup, opposite at Exeter in the semi-final on Sunday at Bordeaux.
La Rochelle is now a regular in the semi-finals. What does this kind of match represent on an emotional level?Grégory Alldritt: You never get used to playing a Champions Cup semi-final. It's just magic and we try as much as possible not to trivialize it. Just because it's been three times in a row doesn't mean it's normal. We have made enormous progress in the organization, in the approach to the match, whether it is the athlete or the club at the general level. It was very well managed by the administration who managed to sell 30,000 seats in this stadium in less than a week, it's just huge so we must congratulate them too. We try to take things without asking too many questions, bringing a little more precision and concentration than in other weeks. I can assure you that we are still so excited and we can't wait for tomorrow (Sunday).
Since the end of March, you have always played at Deflandre and only once here at Bordeaux, thus limiting long trips. For recovery, is this travel saving a benefit? Of course it can help. It's always nice to play at Deflandre in a mythical stadium. We received in the eighth and quarter of the Champions Cup, it's just huge. Against Bayonne and Clermont, we sent a big message (saying) that we had a super efficient group of 45-50 players, that was great. I would say that's more what allows us to be in good shape this week, to see players who may be out of the group today but who gave everything in the last two matches (of Top 14) to defend the team and the group.
La Rochelle have never beaten Exeter. Which opponent do you expect this time? It's true that we lost (twice in 2019-2020) and that served us well in the following seasons. The band has changed so it's not comparable. Exeter is a very physical team, hyper "fit", hyper in shape like all the British teams, with a very good conquest. We mostly try to focus on ourselves, on our strengths. Of course we try to watch what the opponent is doing but we are not going to change everything for them. Honestly, this week, we mainly focused on us to be in our standards, at our best level. We say it with a lot of humility but if we manage to touch, to reach our limits, we can be a very tough team to beat.